Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2019 – Second-seeded Alison Cerutti & Alvaro Morais Filho of Brazil will face Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins (seed #18) of Latvia in Sunday’s men’s gold medal match at the Moscow four-star stop on the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Germany’s Julius Thole & Clemens Wickler (#6) and qualification wild cards Gustavo Albrecht Carvalhaes & Saymon Barbosa Santos (#20) of Brazil are set to battle it out for a spot on the podium in the bronze medal match.
By the time Thole & Wickler got into the game, Alison & Alvaro Filho had stormed into the first set of their semifinal encounter on a 7-1 run and there was no turning back. All the Brazilians had to do to win the set is thread water, but they stayed focused and widened the gap further to nine points by the end of the set, which came with a one-hand block by Alison for the last point. The second set was a different story. The gap never exceeded two points, one way or another, but a two-point lead is all Alison & Alvaro Filho needed to win the match. They managed to keep it on their side through the entire second half of the set until Alison hammered the overpass to close the match at 2-0 (21-12, 21-19).
In their quarterfinal match earlier on Saturday, Alison & Alvaro Filho claimed a 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 15-10) victory over Italy’s Paolo Nicolai & Daniele Lupo (#5), while Thole & Wickler shut out Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen (#4) 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in theirs.
“It was a great game! The Germans are a very strong team, silver medallists of the World Championship in Hamburg, but today Alvaro was perfect in defence and tactics. It’s been a good day, but tomorrow we have the final to focus on,” commented Alison after the semifinal victory.
Guto & Saymon stormed into their semifinal with a 5-0 lead against Samoilovs & Smedins and established total control over the first set, cruising to a 21-14 win, shaped up with a sizzling spike down the line by Saymon for the last point. The second set was nothing like the first one. Two monster blocks in a row by Smedins gave the Latvians a 7-4 advantage and the Brazilians never managed to recover. In a spectacular long rally, applauded by the spectators, Smedins finally found an empty spot in the opponents’ half for a 21-12 close. Guto & Saymon broke away opening up a three-point gap at 8-5 and fought off Samoilovs & Smedins’s first attempts at a comeback. Still, the Latvians didn’t give up and caught up at 13-13 to set up a dramatic epilogue. To the crowd’s delight, both sides put on some powerful volleyball in both spiking and blocking, but were not able to convert their match points for a while, until a trivial net touch by Guto stopped the clocks at 2-1 (14-21, 21-12, 22-20) Latvia’s way.
Both teams had already played three-set quarterfinals earlier in the day, with Samoilovs & Smedins knocking out the last Russian team standing, Nikita Liamin & Taras Myskiv (#12), by 2-1 (21-18, 24-26, 15-12) and Guto & Saymon producing a 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-12) upset of their third-seeded compatriots Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior & Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
“We couldn’t receive well in the first set and that’s why it was an easy win for them. We changed our tactics in the second set and we managed to win. In the third, we somehow managed to dig a few balls and put on some good blocks to equalize. What made the difference in the end was the block. The stadium lights made it hard to play good defence, so it was all about the block. Maybe our experience, the support from the stands and a little bit of luck also had something to do with it,” Samoilovs & Smedins analyzed their semifinal win.
Sunday’s medal matches for the bronze, at 14:35 local time, and for the gold, at 18:20, will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel
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