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Silesia Open | Men
  24/04/2012 - 29/04/2012

All-Brazilian final at the 2012 Silesia Open

Brazil's Ricardo Santos (left) and Pedro Cunha play Marcio Araujo and Pedro Solberg in the final in Myslowice, a 62nd all-Brazilian final.
Myslowice, Poland, April 28, 2012 – The 2012 FIVB SWATCH Silesia Open will be the 62nd World Tour event with two Brazilian teams in the final. First seeded Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos and sixth seeded Marcio Araujo and Pedro Solberg will play each other on Sunday for the gold medal in Slupna Park in Myslowice. In their first medal match ever Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai play Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira for the bronze.

The Italian team was actually very close to a sensational win - two match points - over Cunha and former world and olympic champion Ricardo in the first semifinal of the day. Brazil lead all the way in the first set and speeded from 19-16 to 21-16 in the end, with a superb block by Ricardo finishing the set. But the second set was close, with the Brazilians struggling and making a lot of mistakes. At 19-20 Italy had their first set point but it took a second one to claim it.

 In the tiebreak both teams asked for the support of the enthusiastic audience on a packed and sunny centre court. In exchange they were treated to a thrilling final set with long, breathtaking rallies and excellent points. Italy was boldly leading with one or two points almost all the way and had their first match point at 13-14 and then another one at 14-15. But Cunha and Ricardo kept their cool, fighting back every time until, at 16-15, they had a match point of their own. This one was lost but they sealed the deal on their third; 21-16 20-22 19-17 in 59 minutes.

‘’It was tougher than we thought it would be’’, Cunha said afterwards. ‘’We thought they would be tired as they had already played two games today. But they were not. And they did not seem to feel any pressure either.’’ The two teams are no strangers, they practised together for one month in Brazil, preparing for the 2012 season. This training session was arranged by the coach of Lupo and Nicolai, who is a cousin of Ricardo. Cunha: ‘’In training they sometimes beat us, but in Brazil we say practice is practice, a game is a game.’’

Before the semifinal Lupo (20) and Nicolai (23), their best finish so far was fifth in The Hague last year, upset Dutch veterans Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil in just 29 minutes (21-14 21-15). The Italians played very focussed, unlike the Dutch who made a lot of mistakes. ‘’We just did not waist our energy on emotional celebrating our points, but remained calm and concentrated‘’, said Nicolai, who was a world champion under 21 in 2007 with Francesco Giontella. In the morning the Italians had already beaten Austrian qualifiers Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst (21-17 21-19).

In the second semifinal on Saturday Marcio Araujo and Pedro played Spain’s Herrera and Gavira, who eliminated two USA teams on their way to the final four: last week’s silver medallists Nick Lucena and Matt Fuerbringer (21-14 19-21 15-11) and Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal (21-19 21-11). Cunha and Ricardo started off sloppy against Spain’s Herrera and Gavira, losing the first set 16-21. Marcio: ‘’They came in strong, serving very hard. We tried to push them back, but made too many mistakes. But after that we pushed a little bit more. For us it was our first match of the day, they had already played two, that helped.’’

In the second set Herrera and Gavira, who played their second final four in two weeks, finishing fourth in Brasilia, could not get past Pedro’s block anymore and Marcio hammered in his almost all his spikes. Brazil came back with 21-15 in the second set and finished the game on their second match point in the tiebreak: 15-10.

Former world champion Marcio and Pedro, who won his second world title under 21 here in Myslowice in 2006 with Bruno Oscar Schmidt, play only their second event together. Last week they finished 9th in Brasilia, after they were sent to the loser’s bracket by Cunha and Ricardo (21-14 21-11). It was their only encounter so far. For Cunha and former world and olympic champion Ricardo it is their third final in seven World Tour events as a team, winning gold in Klagenfurt and The Hague last year. Cunha looks forward to an all-Brazilian final. ‘’It like to play another Brazilian team, as we are still competing for an olympic ticket. And it is good for the audience as well.’’

Out of the four Brazilians Ricardo has won the most World Tour events as an individual: 52. Marcio won 20, Pedro 11 and Cunha 5. Cunha and Pedro were a team before, in 2003 they won the Junior World Championships in France. Ricardo and Marcio played seven times together, advancing to three semifinals. The duo won one tournament and placed second in the World Championships in Rome last year. Ricardo also played with Pedro.

The final of the $190.000 Silesia Open starts at 15.00 on centre court at Slupna Park. The bronze medal match is scheduled for 13.30. The winners split $30.000, the silver medallists $21.000 and bronze is worth $15.000.

It is the fifth straight season Myslowice hosts a single gender FIVB SWATCH World Tour Open event. In 2008 and 2011 the women played in Slupna Park. In 2009 and 2010 it was a men’s only event. USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won the final against Spain’s Herrera and Gavira. Germany’s Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann took the bronze. Myslowice is the second men’s event on the 2012 calendar. The World Tour returns to Poland in August, after the Olympics, for the Grand Slam in Stare Jablonski.   
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29/04/2012 Cunha and Ricardo beat Marcio and Pedro in Myslowice final
28/04/2012 All-Brazilian final at the 2012 Silesia Open
27/04/2012 Two Brazilian teams in Myslowice semifinals
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25/04/2012 Dutch day in Myslowice
24/04/2012 Seven teams from six countries advance to qualifications in Myslowice
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