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2016-06-08 15:00:00 CEST

Favorites beat the underdogs…just!

Norwegian qualifiers test Brazil’s best

Alison/Bruno bring it at smart Major Hamburg; Photocredit: Joerg MitterAlison/Bruno bring it at smart Major Hamburg; Photocredit: Joerg Mitter

It’s never easy being the outsiders but Norway’s Iver Andreas Horrem and Geir Eithun faced a massive challenge in their first game in the main draw on Wednesday – and came close to causing an upset.

After coming through two rounds of qualification matches on Tuesday, the Nordic pair faced Brazilian favorites Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt with all eyes on the Samba kings.

A huge crowd packed the outer limits of court three and were treated to a fine battle as the underdogs attempted to pull off an early shock in the tournament.

While the Brazilians remained cool and calm at one end of the court, at the other end Horrem and Eithun roared and cajoled themselves along in their mother tongue but could not force home an advantage in the first set, going down 21-19.

It was the same story in a gripping, close-run second set but the class of Alison and Bruno began to show, using their power and poise at the net to good effect on more than one occasion.

An extraordinary piece of improvisation from Alison led to a match point – the big, bearded Brazilian flicking the ball up with his foot (typical Brazilian!) to keep the rally in play before smashing home a thunderous winning spike.

Still the vocal Norwegians refused to lie down, forcing the set closer and closer before a trademark block at the net from the long arms of Alison signaled victory for the Brazilians.