Rossi was on fire in the third Italian victory at the Foro Italico

Hosts Italy will have four men’s teams competing in the elimination round of the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022, including highest ranked Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi, who captured the top spot in Pool A on Monday.

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After securing two-set victories against teams from Gambia and Argentina, the Tokyo Olympians were challenged by Brazilians Bruno Schmidt and Saymon Barbosa, who were also undefeated, but made their home court advantage count and won by the thinnest of margins, triumphing 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 18-16) on centre court at the Foro Italico.

Rossi was in great form against the Brazilians, producing 22 points in kills, as well as all of his team’s five blocks and three aces. ‘Mr. Skyball’ Carambula contributed with 18 points, all in kills.

“Pool play wasn’t easy for us,” Carambula reflected. “We’re not in our best physical condition, but we stayed together and united and we got to end pool play in the first place, which was important. Now we have a day off to rest and prepare for the elimination rounds. It’s like a new tournament starting and probably an even more difficult one.”

The Italians and Brazilians are both guaranteed places in the Round of 32, while Argentinean brothers Nicolas and Tomas Capogrosso, who were third in the pool, will compete in the Lucky Losers round.

Two other Italian teams managed to win their pools. Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava, the winners of the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Jurmala, also did so with a perfect record.

The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist and his 23-year-old partner put on a strong performance to finish Pool K in first place and defeat Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb in two sets (21-11, 21-19) in the last match of the day in the Italian capital.

Nicolai’s former partner, Daniele Lupo and Rio 2016 Olympian Alex Ranghieri were also top of their pool, even if they dropped a match. The Italians won the challenging Pool B with a hard-fought, two-set (28-26, 21-18) victory over Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak. They eliminated the Polish pair, considered one of the favourites in the tournament.

Despite losing to Dutch Leon Luini and Ruben Penninga in straight sets (21-16, 22-20) in their third match in Pool H, Italians Davide Benzi and Carlo Bonifazi also advanced. Ranked third in their pool, they will need to go through the Lucky Losers round on Tuesday to try and make it to the Round of 32.

Jakob Windisch and Gianluca dal Corso were the only Italian duo to exit the tournament after the conclusion of pool play. The two dropped a close three-setter (22-24, 21-13, 15-9) to Polish team Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol and finished at the bottom of Pool I.

The best two teams in each pool and the four third-placed teams with the best campaigns have advanced directly to the Round of 32, which will be played on Wednesday. Tuesday’s schedule in Rome will feature the four Lucky Losers matchups per gender, which will reunite the other eight tandems that were third in their pools.