Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego did it the hard way again, but still qualified for the gold medal match
Campinas, Brazil, June 1, 2013 - Brazil's Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego produced even more centre-court drama for the home crowd on the penultimate day of competition at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final as they came from a set down for the second consecutive day to win their semi-final against Germany 2-1 (16-21, 21-17, 15-9) and progress into Sunday's gold medal match.
Going into the final four, Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik were the only unbeaten team left after the competition's pool stage and they started well to win the first set 21-16 and put their Brazilian opponents under pressure.
With Brazil's win in the women's final earlier in the day the home Campinas crowd were right behind their pair and Alison-Emanuel eventually found their mojo and turned their fortunes around in the second set, taking it 21-17 to send the match into a tie-break, which they won 15-9.
"The supporters made a lot of difference," said Alison in his post-match analysis. "We're still finding our game rhythm after a month without playing, and it's good that it's happening here in Brazil because the support of the fans is making us get there."
Parter Emanuel said it was the thought of a new competition that was helping boost his motivation. "I am very excited with the creation of the Continental Cup," he said. "It's giving various countries that don't participate in international beach volleyball comeptitions an opportunity. So it's an opportunity to win a different title and that's making me want to win even more."
Alison-Emanuel will face USA's Jacob Gibb and Casey Patterson in the gold-medal match after they edged out Latvia's Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins, winning 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) in a pair of really close sets during the day's first semi-final.
Gibb-Patterson, who were destined for a tournament exit until Norway's surprise win against Canada in the final round of pool matches on Friday, took advantage of some Latvia mistakes to pull back small deficits in both sets, but Patterson knows their place, even in the semi-finals, was down to some fortune.
"We thank Norway for beating Canada and for letting us score lots of points on them," he said. "Because that's the only way it was possible, that [Norway win] was huge for us. I was very surprised [Norway won], but very happy at the same time. It just goes to show that anyone can beat anyone at any time, you can never have a rest day, you can never take a match off."
The gold medal match between the top two seeds is scheduled for 09:45 (local time) on Sunday.
Staying the with the seedings, Sunday's support act on centre court will see the two defeated semi-finalists, third seeds Erdmann-Matysik play fourth seeds Plavins-Smedins, J. for the bronze medal, the same medal the Latvian pair claimed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
If Latvia can cut out the frustrating semi-final mistakes that cost them against USA, and get back to the first-set form that saw them so close to eliminating the home side Brazil in their final pool match, Plavins is confident they will add World Cup Final bronze to Olympic bronze. "If we play a good match, we can win," he said. "Everybody saw we almost beat Brazil, so it's just how we play, if we play good we have a good chance."
The bronze medal match is first on court Sunday and starts at 08:30.