QINZHOU, Southeastern China, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Top seeds Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium held off Americans Edwin Burik Mark and William Kolinske 32-30 in the first set on way to a 2-0 victory that sent them to the men's top 16 round of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Qinzhou Open.
Koekelkoren/Walle squandered a five-point lead before recollecting themselves to clinch the opening set in the first round of the single elimination tournament.
"(We survived) by fighting hard and working hard," said van Walle. "I think we started well, but then at 16-11 we made some mistakes and they made some good blocks, and then we brought ourselves into trouble. You see those guys also can play very well and we made ourselves difficult. But in the end, we were able to get it done as a team."
The hot weather in Qinzhou was also quite a challenge for the Belgians. "I think we were trying to play aggressively, with good mentality and fighting spirit. But with this heat, it's really hard to keep high the level of aggressivity. It's a pity for the late part in the first set, but we stayed tough and won the first set. If we have to play three sets in this circumstance, it's really hard."
Second seeds Pereira Jefferson Santos and Cherif Younousse of Qatar joined Koekelkoren/Walle in the men's top 16 after ousting Austria's Florian Schnetzer and Daniel Mullner 21-15 and 21-14.
Third seeds Nadir Diaz Gomez and Bayard Sergio Reynaldo of Cuba posted an easy 21-13 and 21-16 win over Turkey's Murat Giginoglu and Hasan Huseyin Mermer while Mexico's fourth seeds Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros breezed past Kensuke Shoji/Yusuke Ishijima of Japan 21-15 and 21-14.
Li Zhuoxin and Zhou Chaowei of China also cruised into the second round after brushing aside Japanese duo Junki Hatabe and Hitoshi Murakami 21-14 and 24-22. Li, who had his wedding ceremony held a week ago, was more than pleased with the opening win.
"I have been preparing for my wedding in the last month and yesterday afternoon I had my first training in four weeks, so I am very satisfied with the win," said Li. "At the start of the match, I could not find the rhythm. As the game went on, I felt more and more comfortable."
Li was also happy to finish the match in two sets. "It would be really hard to play the third set in the heat."