Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 18, 2016 - This could be a profitable three-week stretch for Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves.
The Olympic duo will play for the gold medal and the US$100,000 grand prize in the SWATCH World Tour Finals Sunday after their 21-19, 21-18 over John Hyden and Tri Bourne of the United States in the semifinals on Polson Pier.
Pedro/Evandro, however, don’t have an easy task in front of them. They will face countrymen Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti, the reigning World and Olympic Champions, later Sunday for the gold medal. Bruno/Alison captured the inaugural World Tour Finals title a year ago in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Pedro and Evandro, coming off their victory in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in which they captured the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, look to close their season with consecutive victories and take home US$157,000 for the two event victories.
Bruno/Alison advanced with a 21-15, 21-18 victory over Canadian Olympians Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton before a raucous home-country crowd.
Pedro/Evandro kept their mistakes to a minimum and took advantage of two key plays in the second set to defeat Hyden and Bourne, who had scored a three-set victory over the Brazilians in pool play earlier the tournament.
“We lost to them before and we came with different tactics in the beginning and we played way better,” Pedro said. “If we keep doing what we’re doing since the playoffs started, we have big chances to win.”
Hyden and Bourne will take on Schalk/Saxton in the bronze medal match.
“We made a few errors in game 2 and they didn’t make any, so that was basically it,” Hyden said. “They fought well, we fought well, somebody’s got to mess up once or twice and that’s basically it.
“Those are the plays that turn the games around. We made two right there and they didn’t make any, so that’s it. But to go through a game flawlessly is difficult and they did it.”
Pedro/Evandro might have to continue their perfect play in the gold medal match. Bruno/Alison turned aside every challenge the Canadians and their fans threw at them to advance.
“Me and Alison got way much better when we play against the crowd for sure,” Bruno said. “Also here they are so respectful and friendly. It couldn’t be a better atmosphere to develop our sport.
“I think we are deserving of a final like this because we are playing so hard during our Olympic run for our country. Evandro and Pedro are having an outstanding season so far and will be fantastic. I’m so happy to have this Brazilian final.
Saxton/Schalk will have a similar rivalry in their match against Hyden/Bourne. The teams often train together in Southern California, plus they met in pool play in the World Tour Finals with the Americans scoring a 21-17, 21-17 win.
“It’s going to be a good fight,” Saxton said. “We have a chance to redeem ourselves against that American team but we’ll do our best to beat them here.”