Berlin, Germany, June 15, 2008 - A day after Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh set a SWATCH FIVB World Tour team mark for gold-medal finishes at 32, Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos matched the Americans by capturing the smart Grand Slam men's title here Sunday.
With their 25-27, 21-19 and 15-13 win in 73 minutes over Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, the third-seeded Emanuel and Ricardo denied the top-seeded pair a chance to give the United States two gold medals this weekend at the US$600,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour in front of the city's main train station at the Washingtonplatz.
May-Treanor and Walsh claimed the women's gold medal Saturday afternoon by defeating Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China 21-18 and 22-20 in 45 minutes. While the Americans have won their 32 FIVB titles in 56 international starts together since 2001, Emanuel and Ricardo's SWATCH count was achieved in 76 events since the end of the 2002 season. Both teams are the reigning Olympic champions and currently lead the qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games.
The gold-medal finish was the second of the season for Emanuel and Ricardo, who captured last week's SWATCH FIVB World Tour stop in Poland. Emanuel and Ricardo now have 69 and 49 individual FIVB titles, respectively, as the Brazilians also won a non-SWATCH international satellite event in 2005 at Buenos Aires, Argentina. For the 35-year Emanuel, he now has 122 international and domestic titles since 1994.
"We had two very tough matches today," said Emanuel, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the smart Grand Slam. "I am glad we had a break after playing the second semi-final match this morning against the Germans. We still have a ways to go with our conditioning as we prepare for Beijing, but we are starting to come together with our teamwork and coordination."
With the win, Emanuel and Ricardo shared the $43,500 first-place along with winning a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal together in the German capital for the first time. Both players had won previous Berlin titles with Ze Marco de Melo as Emanuel top of the German podium in 1997 and Ricardo in 1999. Brazilians have now won seven of the Berlin men’s title, including three straight.
Currently ranked second to Emanuel and Ricardo (5,500 points) on the Olympic qualifying list for the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, Dalhausser and Rogers shared $29,000 for second-place finish. The Americans have now posted 4,820 points for their best-eight finishes on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since May 2007.
Sunday's match was the 10th between the two teams with the Brazilians leading 6-4. In gold-medal meetings with Rogers and Dalhausser, Emanuel and Ricardo hold a 3-1 edge. Both pairs have SWATCH FIVB World Championship gold medals to their credit with Emanuel and Ricardo winning in 2003 and the Americans topping the podium last year in Switzerland.
To advance to the afternoon finale Sunday, both teams had to win semi-final matches in the morning. After Dalhausser and Rogers out-lasted 17th-seeded Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa of Spain 16-21, 21-18 and 15-13 in 67 minutes, Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 15-21, 21-14 and 15-9 win in 58 minutes over second-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann of Germany.
In the bronze-medal match, Herrera and Mesa gained their first-ever SWATCH FIVB World Tour podium placement with a 21-19 and 21-16 win in 49 minutes over Brink and Dieckmann. In gaining Spain's second-straight medal on the FIVB circuit, Herrera and Mesa shared $23,000 for third place while the Germans split $18,400 for fourth place.
The next stop on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour for the top men's and women's Beach Volleyball players starts Monday in Paris for the second of six Grand Slam events on the 2008 calendar. Norwegian (Stavanger) and Russia (Moscow) Grand Slam tournamnets follow the Paris event before the FIVB tour takes a break for a week for the European continental championships Hamburg, Germany.