Xiamen repeat for Herrera & Gavira to enter Fuzhou Open semis

 Fuzhou, China, April 22, 2016 – It was a repeat of the Xiamen Open gold medal match almost exactly one week earlier for Spain’s Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrián Gavira Collado when they faced John Hyden and Tri Bourne from the USA at the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Fuzhou Open.

This time it was the Fuzhou Open quarterfinals that would have the two teams pitted against one another. In Xiamen the final was taken to three sets before Herrera/Gavira secured victory over the American pair 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 15-12).

In Fuzhou the match appeared to be heading for a similarly long three set affair as the teams battled to a first set score of 23-21 in favour of the Spanish team. The experience of the previous week’s match paired with the incredible form Herrera/Gavira have demonstrated so far in China, led the Spaniards to secure the win and their second final four in a row, 2-0 (23-21, 21-18).

Adrián Gavira Collado from Spain

“We played the same as the final in Xiamen, we tried to have a strong side out and then tried to block Hyden and make him move around the court to try to get some points through blocking,” said Herrera.

“We feel good, we’re in another semifinal. Pablo played very, very good on side-out and block so now we just want to enjoy the moment again and tomorrow more,” said Gavira.

Herrera/Gavira are growing in form in the 2016 season, the pair finished 25th at the Rio Grand Slam, fifth at the Vitoria Open before taking gold at the Xiamen Open. The Spanish pair now face Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo in the semifinal.

“Whatever happens we’re happy, we came to China to get into the rhythm of competing in both tournaments to improve our game because we didn’t end with a good feeling in Rio. Tomorrow let’s enjoy and go for another medal,” said Gavira.

Nicolai/Lupo fight illness to enter semifinals

Both Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo have been fighting a fever since arriving in Fuzhou, but feeling under the weather has done little to stop the Italian pair in their medal quest. In their third match of the day - Nicolai/Lupo had already defeated Norway’s Svein Oddmund Solhaug and Daniel Bergerud 2-0 (21-12, 21-13) and Russia’s Konstatin Semenov and Viacheslev Krasilnikov in a gruelling three sets, 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-12) – they finally met Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter.

Earlier in the day, Binstock/Schachter had knocked out number two seeded fellow Canadians Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton, but it is never good news when you meet Nicolai/Lupo in the draw. The Italians set to work and their organic teamwork secured victory over Binstock/Schachter 2-0 (21-18, 21-16).

Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo from Italy and Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter

“We are so happy because for us it’s a difficult week, we had some problems with fever so it’s great we can’t imagine to play in the semis tomorrow.

“Yesterday I had 38  fever, Lupo the same so it’s strange, sometimes you feel great and you lose every match and sometimes you feel very bad and you are in the semi so it’s great. Now we have to rest and tomorrow we have to think about our side of the court,” said Nicolai.

The second semifinal will be played between top seeded USA team Philip Dalhausser and Nicholas Lucena and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins. The US beat Mexican team Juan Virgen and Lombardo 2-0 (21-17, 21-12), while Samoilovs/Smedins apponents, Russia’s Liamin/Barsouk pulled out of their quarterfinal match with injury.

USA team Philip Dalhausser and Nicholas Lucena

The medals will be decided for the men on April 23, with Herrera/Gavira aiming for their second gold in a row. The gold medal teams in each gender at the FIVB Fuzhou Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500.

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