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George/Andre (BRA) vs. Nõlvak/Tiisaar (EST) - Pool A #4984784

George spikes past Tiisaar’s block

A dramatic three-set duel, in which each of the sets was decided by the narrowest of margins, the second set went to overtime and the tie-breaker was pushed really deep into overtime to last as much as the second set, eventually resulted in a victory for top-seeded Brazilians Andre Stein & George Wanderley over Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak & Mart Tiisaar in the winners’ game of men’s Pool A at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge on Friday.

· Watch the Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge live on VBTV.

The two Brazilians aced twice each towards a 25-point tally, but Andre’s also included six kill blocks. Tiisaar even topped that with nine stuffs and a 30-point match high. That remake of last year’s Jurmala Elite16 bronze medal match crowned a series of four three-set battles in the pool. In the first round, George & Andre took a victory over Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich & Leo Dillier, while Nolvak & Tiisaar produced a comeback against Chile’s Noe Aravena & Vicente Droguett. To stay in contention, the Swiss claimed a win over the Chileans in the direct duel for the third place in the pool.

In a battle between sixth-seeded home heroes Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins and seventh-seeded Evandro Oliveira & Arthur Mariano for the top of Pool F, the Brazilians celebrated a victory after an extended first set and domination in the second. Evandro & Arthur had another difficult match to get their Jurmala campaign underway. In the first round, they defeated China’s Ha Likejiang & Wu Jiaxin after an overtime tie-breaker, , with both Brazilians and Ha finishing with 22 points each. Evandro, however, excelled in both serving with five aces and blocking with four stuffs. Samoilovs & Smedins also needed three sets to overcome the resistance of Poland’s Piotr Kantor & Jakub Zdybek and claim a victory, on a 27-point match high by the Lion King. The Poles stayed in contention after knocking out Ha & Wu in straight sets in the third-place match.

Samoilovs/Smedins (LAT) vs. Evandro/Arthur (BRA) - Pool F #4984442

Arthur attacks against Samoilovs’s block

Renato Lima & Vitor Felipe were the third Brazilian pair to win their pool. In the Pool B winners’ match, they mastered a upset of second-seeded Ukrainians Sergiy Popov & Eduard Reznik. Earlier in the day, the South Americans had a difficult encounter with Austria’s Julian Horl & Alexander Horst, which they won by . Horl & Horst will still play in the direct elimination matches after shutting out German qualifiers Robin Sowa & Lukas Pfretzschner for the third place in the pool.

Last year’s Jurmala winners Paolo Nicolai & Samuele Cottafava, now seeded third in the main draw bracket, topped Pool C after two hard-fought wins on Friday. In their first game, the Italians outlasted Portugal’s Joao Pedrosa & Hugo Campos on the way to a shutout. Then, in the pool winners’ game, they came back from a set down to beat USA’s Chase Budinger & Miles Evans by . The third-place match for survival in that pool also went to three. Another Italian duo, Daniele Lupo & Enrico Rossi, advanced to the elimination stage after a victory over the Portuguese.

Thomas Hodges & Zachery Schubert of Australia finished first in Pool E after a victory over USA’s Chaim Schalk & Tri Bourne in the pool final. Before that, the 20th-seeded Aussies managed a upset of fifth-seeded Norwegians Mathias Berntsen & Hendrik Mol. The Beachvolley Vikings were quite close to being knocked out by Austria’s Robin Seidl & Moritz Pristauz in the third-place match, but after all managed to survive with a victory.

Steven van de Velde & Matthew Immers of the Netherlands won Pool D after a sweep of the deciding match against USA’s Trevor Crabb & Theodore Brunner. Van de Velde led the fourth-seeded Dutchmen to victory with eight kill blocks, three aces and 11 successful spikes. Australia’s Izac Carracher & Mark Nicolaidis hammered out a shutout of German qualifiers Paul Henning & Sven Winter for the third place in the pool.

van de Velde/Immers (NED) vs. Crabb Tr./Brunner (USA) - Pool D #4984413

Van de Velde & Immers celebrate

Men’s main draw action will continue on Saturday with the two round-of-18 matches, the eighthfinals and the quarterfinals.