Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 11, 2016 - Pool placement for the men’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has meant nothing as Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia became the third team to defy projections by capturing the Pool E title here Thursday by defeating a team from The Netherlands.
Competing in a group with Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst, the silver medal winners from the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague, Krasilnikov and Semenov scored a 2-1 (21-15, 14-21, 14-9) win in 48 minutes over the Dutch pair in the fourth international meeting between the two teams. With the Russian win tying the series at 2-2, one of Nummerdor and Varenhorst’s triumphs over Krasilnikov and Semenov was at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in the elimination rounds.
With the victory, Krasilnikov and Semenov join Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri of Italy (Pool A), Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba (Pool D) and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain (Pool F) as “unexpected” group winners. The Russians will be placed as the fifth-seeds in the 16-team elimination bracket where matches will be played Friday and Saturday at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana”.
Despite the setback, Nummerdor and Varenhorst will be placed into the bracket via a draw later Thursday evening after the men’s final pool play match. Nummerdor is competing in his third-straight Beach Volleyball Olympic competition as he and Richard Schuill placed fifth at the Beijing 2008 Games and fourth at the London 2012 quadrennial.
After the two teams split the first two sets, the Russians never trailed in the third set as Krasilnikov and Semenov broke from a 1-1 tie to take a 4-1 edge. After Nummerdor and Varenhorst cut the edge to 9-8, the Russians finished the deciding set with a 6-1 run.
Semenov, who had five blocks and four aces in the match, now ranks among the Olympic leaders in both categories. With three more men’s pool matches to be played Thursday, Semenov is tied for first with the most “aces” with eight and is tied for third in blocking with 16.