Moscow, Russia, May 28, 2016 - It will be another rematch of the two pairs that played in the gold medal match at the 2015 FIVB World Championships as Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil and Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands won two matches each here Saturday at the US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam.
With victories over teams from Italy and Poland Saturday at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, the top-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Alison and Bruno advanced to their 11th FIVB World Tour gold medal match in 25 international starts together. The Brazilians have placed fifth and fourth in their last two starts in the Russian capital.
The fifth-seeded Nummerdor and Varenhorst will be participating in their fifth international finale in 18 FIVB World Tour starts together after eliminating tandems from The Netherlands and the United States in their first Moscow Grand Slam together. The pair missed the 2015 Russian stop due to a leg injury for Nummerdor.
Sunday’s meeting will be the third between the two teams on the FIVB World Tour with the first confrontation being last July 5 when Alison and Bruno scored a 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 22-20) gold medal match win in 54 minutes at the FIVB World Championships in The Hague. Almost three months later at the SWATCH World Tour Finals in the United States, the Brazilians posted a 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) pool play win in 34 minutes at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“That will be a match between two great teams,” said the 29-year old Bruno when asked about playing in the finals Sunday against Nummerdor and Varenhorst. “The Dutch are very competitive with a big blocker and great defender. By winning two matches together against two of the top teams on the world tour, Reinder and Chris proved why they are one of the great pairs on our tour.”
Playing in Saturday’s first men’s semi-final, Nummerdor and Varenhorst scored a 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-13) win in 45 minutes over second-seeded Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson of the United States. The third and deciding set was led mostly by the Americans before the Dutch took the lead for good at 13-12.
“That was a tough match," said the 39-year old Nummerdor. “The Americans played great in the first set and we started playing better in the second set. The third set was tough as it seemed like we were always playing catch up. Christiaan played great and we made the key plays at the end.
Earlier Saturday in one of the first matches of the day on an outer court at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, Nummerdor and Varenhorst ousted sixth-seeded compatriots Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen with a 2-0 (21-17, 26-24) quarter-final win in 37 minutes.
Alison and Bruno overcame 16-11 deficits in both sets of their “Elite 8” match with 13th-seeded with Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo to post a 2-0 (21-19, 2-18) win in 38 minutes over the Italians. In the semi-finals, the Brazilians scored a 2-0 (21-19, 21-14) win in 37 minutes over 17th-seeded Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor of Poland.
Gibb and Patterson advanced to the semi-finals by eliminating 12th-seeded and defending Moscow Grand Slam champions Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain 2-1 (21-17, 13-21, 16-14) in 47 minutes. Losiak and Kantor advanced to the “final four” matches with a 2-1 (23-25, 21-16, 15-7) quarter-final win in 52 minutes over 21st-seeded Vitor Felipe/Alvaro Filho of Brazil.
The Moscow Grand Slam also features women’s play with the medal matches scheduled for Sunday afternoon with the gold medal teams sharing the $57,000 first-places prizes. The women’s finale will pit second-seeded and defending Moscow Grand Slam champions Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil against third-seeded and 2014 Moscow winners April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.