Hamburg, Germany, June 12, 2016 - What appeared on paper to be a gold medal showdown between past and present FIVB Beach Volleyball world champions did not materialize here Sunday mid-day at the US$800,000 smart Major Hamburg as Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena posted a two-set win over the reigning “kings of the beach” Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil.
With their 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) semi-final win in 35 minutes over the top-seeded Alison and Bruno, the third-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena will play fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands for the gold medal and the $57,000 first-place prize in the inaugural smart Major Hamburg at the Am Rothenbaum stadium.
Brouwer and Meeuwsen, the 2013 FIVB world champions, advanced to the title match with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) semi-final win in 34 minutes over 12th-seeded Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia. While the Dutch were defeating the Russians for the fourth time in five FIVB World Tour events, Dalhausser and Lucena tied the series with Alison and Bruno at 2-2.
Robert Meeuwsen (left) and Alexander Brouwer at the smart Major Hamburg Sunday after defeating a team from Russia.
Sunday’s finale will be the fourth meeting between the two teams on the FIVB World Tour with the Americans leading 2-1. One of the victories was in a gold medal match last October in Mexico where Dalhausser and Lucena won 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) in 34 minutes. There have been three American-Dutch gold medal matches since the start of FIVB-sanctioned men’s events in 1987 with the United States leading 3-0.
After the match with the Americans, Bruno said “we tried to make pressure to their side and they didn’t feel anything in both sets from the beginning to the end. We’ll forget about it and now we are concentrating on third place. We made a lot of mistakes and put them in a comfortable situation all the time. The first set we almost gave them comfort. For the second set we started well at the beginning but after six or seven points we missed like four points in a row so it put them in a comfortable situation with one set already done. With no pressure it’s easy to play. We’ll try to be more concentrated and focused for the future confrontations because this one we almost gave to them.
Dalhausser noted that “it was a perfect scenario, we executed the game plan. I’ m sure we’ll play them again at some point and it will be way closer than that. Nick sided out great. That was the difference in my opinion. There were a couple times where they had a couple-point runs and Nick stopped it with a clean sideout and he dug a bunch of balls. It was not just me at the net.”
Lucena added that “Phil is always a beast at the net. We came out with a game plan and we executed probably the best we’ve ever done. Phil is one of the best players in the world, he’s been the best player for a while, so I just stand behind him and let him do his thing.”
Playing in Sunday’s first semi-final, Brouwer offered after the match that his team is “playing at a high level right now so if we continue this, I think we have a good chance at another Major Series gold.” When asked about playing either the Americans or the Brazilians in the finals, Brouwer said ”it does not matter. We want to be able to beat anybody and both teams that we can face we have beaten them in the past so we’re really confident and we want to continue to play like this.”
And with the weather overcast and damp Sunday, Brouwer said “it is typical Dutch weather. We love it!