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Mazury Orlen Grand Slam | Men
  14/08/2012 - 19/08/2012

Rogers and Dalhausser stay on course to retain Stare Jablonki gold

Todd Rogers (right) and Phil Dalhausser are aiming for a third straight gold medal at the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam
Stare Jablonki, Poland, August 18, 2012 – Defending gold medallists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser reached the semifinals of the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam on Saturday and so stay on course to win a third consecutive gold medal at the tournament.

The win also ended the hopes of local favourites Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek who hoped to match or better the silver medal they had won in 2011.

The match was a repeat of the 2011 final which Rogers and Dalhausser won in three sets and it finished in similar fashion as the Americans beat the Polish duo 21-19, 19-21, 15-10. They also won the gold medal in 2010.

“They played it like a final. They hit the ball well, had great defence and served the ball well,” Rogers said. “I thought it was a fun match to play. I love playing here, this is our third year we’ve been here and we always enjoy it.”

Their win sets up a semifinal against Latvia’s Olympic bronze medallists Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins, who knocked out Olympic silver medallists and FIVB world champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti.

“Those guys are on fire,” Rogers said. “Latvia has been a thorn in our side at times. It should be a good game. Plavins is digging a lot of balls right now and I think it will be very similar to our match with Poland.”

Smedins and Plavins continued their fine form with a win against the team that defeated them in the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympic Games. They beat Alison and Emanuel in straight sets, 21-17, 23-21.

“We played without mistakes,” Smedins said. “It is only the second time in three and a half years we played them. The first was in London and we didn’t know how to play them, but now it’s pretty good.”

Since winning bronze in London the Latvian pair has been feted as national heroes in their homeland. They admitted that they didn’t expect to have gone so far at Stare Jablonki as they have barely had time to train such are the demands for their time from fans and media back home in Latvia.

With over a week gone since they won bronze in London, they have once again found their best form as another tournament comes to its conclusion.

“We lost in our pool to the Austrian team (Daniel Mullner and Jorg Wutzl) and that wasn’t so good because we weren’t focused,” Smedins said.

“Today before the match we were talking about how we wanted to go home because there is a festival for us and we have to be on the stage at 7pm. Now though we have to tell them we won’t be there because we are playing.”

The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam is the ninth of nine mixed gender tournaments on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour and the final men’s tournament of the year. The winning side will leave with the largest share from a pot of $300,000 per gender.
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16/08/2012 Plavins and Smedins win in first match since winning Olympic bronze
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