Porec, Croatia, July 3, 2016 - The “storybook” tale of Austria winning its first-ever Beach Volleyball gold medal on the FIVB World Tour is still possible as Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst from the European country defeated a Canadian pair in the first of two semi-finals here Sunday morning to advance to the finals of the US$800,000 Porec Major.
The 15th-seeded Doppler and Horst will challenge top-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt for the Porec Major gold medal and the $57,000 first-place prize after the Brazilians eliminated fifth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 15-11) in 51 minutes in Sunday’s second semi-final match.
Being played in this Croatian coastal resort town before a packed stadium of more than 5,000 fans, Doppler and Horst eliminated sixth-seeded Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk from gold medal contention by posting a come-from-behind 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 19-17) win in 51 minutes for the Austrians fifth win in eight FIVB World Tour matches with the Canadians.
On twitter at https://twitter.com/SwatchMajors/status/749551921871065089
The win marked the sixth three-set win in six Porec Major matches this week for Doppler and Horst, who will be competing in their second FIVB World Tour gold medal match in 40 international starts together. Their only previous title contest was in 2012 at the Polish Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki where the Austrians lost in two sets to Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia.
Since the start of FIVB-sanctioned events in 1987 for men and 1992 for women, Austrian teams are 0-6 in FIVB World Tour gold medal matches. With the women winless in four title matches, the only other gold medal match for the Austrian men was played by Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl, who were defeated earlier this season in Qatar by Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula of Italy.
The Brazil vs. Latvia contest was a rematch of the last FIVB finale when Samoilovs and Smedins defeated Alison and Bruno two weeks ago to win the podium top spot in Olsztyn, Poland. With their semi-final win Sunday over the Latvians, Alison and Bruno now hold a 5-3 edge in the FIVB World Tour matches between the two teams.
Aleksandrs Samoilovs (left) of Latvia hits at the SWATCH Major Series net against Alison Cerutti of Brazil.
In the women’s finale Saturday, 19th-seeded qualifiers Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany completed an “impossible mission” by defeating the fourth-seeded Bansley and Pavan 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win in 38 minutes. The Germans became the 11th women’s team to win a FIVB World Tour gold medal after starting an event in the qualifier before advancing for the “money” rounds.
In the All-German bronze medal match, 10th-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe defeated Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-19, 21-23, 15-11) in 51 minutes. Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who had won the last two FIVB World Tour events in Germany (Hamburg) and Poland (Olsztyn) along with the European Championships, entered Saturday’s action with a 19-match winning streak, a 46-4 record this season with four FIVB gold medals to their credit.
After the Porec Major, the SWATCH Major Series continues with two more stops in Europe at Gstaad Switzerland (July 5-10) and Klagenfurt, Austria (July 26-31). Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the ASISCS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the end of August in the United States at Long Beach will be the final event used to determine the top eight teams for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals to be played September 13-18 at a site to be determined.