FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 septembre 2014


Press release

Brazil, Netherlands to tangle for men’s gold Sunday at FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam

Poland's Bartosz Losiak, right, kills the Mikasa against Canada's Josh Binstock as Losiak and Piotr Kantor defeated Binstock/Sam Schachter in three tough sets Saturday to win the bronze medal at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

São Paulo, Brazil, September 27, 2014 — Last men standing will play out in Brazil Sunday as teams from host-country Brazil and the Netherlands will challenge each other for the gold medal at the double-gender US$800,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam.

Appearing in Brazil at least once a year for 28 consecutive years, the 2014 FIVB World Tour stop is being held in São Paulo through Sunday in a purpose-built venue on the grounds of the Barueri Arena.

The last of 10 FIVB Grand Slams on the 2014 FIVB World Tour calendar, the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam started on Tuesday.  On Sunday, the women’s and men’s gold medal matches and awarding ceremony will close the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam event.

Following impressive semifinal victories on Saturday, meeting in men’s gold medal match at the Barueri complex will be Netherlands’ 13th-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst challenging Brazil’s iconic Olympic champions and sixth-seeded Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego.

Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst are playing in just their second tournament together with one fifth-place finish and they are 5-1 in this tournament. Individually, Nummerdor is a veteran Olympian from the Netherlands, playing in his 80th career FIVB tournament with nine gold medals. Varenhorst is in his 47th FIVB tournament with a career best third place in Fuzhou this year.

Brazil’s legendary Ricardo/Emanuel duo is back playing again as a team after a five year absence. They are 6-0 here on their home sand in Brazil, winning four in three sets in their first tournament back. Overall, this is their 89th FIVB tournament together with 65 final four finishes including 89 gold medals. Individually, this is the 208th FIVB tournament for Ricardo with 56 FIVB gold medals. For Emanuel, this is his 245th FIVB event and he has 77 FIVB career gold medals.

Gold medal winning teams in each gender in São Paulo will split $57,000, silver will receive $43,000, bronze medalists get $32,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $24,000 of the $800,000 total purse.

Both teams were in anguish, lamenting their semifinal losses in the first appearance for both teams, but the play wasn’t indicative of what they had gone through in the semis. Poland’s 16th-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, young but more experienced, hung on in three sets to win the bronze medal over Canada’s 23rd-seeded Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter, 21-19, 18-21 and 15-12 in their 52-minute match.

Canada’s Binstock/Schachter were playing in just their fifth tournament as a team with a best finish of 17th in Long Beach this year. They were 5-2 in Brazil. Individually, Binstock was playing in his 53rd FIVB event with no other final four finish. Schachter was playing in his 22nd FIVB event.

Poland’s Kantor/Losiak were playing in their 29th FIVB event as a team and were making their first final four appearance on the FIVB World Tour. They finished with a 5-3 record in this event. On the way to the final four, the young Polish stars defeated both USA’s ninth-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson and Latvia’s fourth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins. Their best FIVB World Tour finish prior to this year was a fifth place here in Brazil last year. They have also won four FIVB age group world championship medals, including three gold medals.

Seeming to trade punches throughout three close sets, splitting the first two, Poland’s Kantor/Losiak went on a 3-0 run in the tiebreaker to pull ahead and finally defeat Canada’s game effort by Binstock/Schachter.

Evading the rain that has poured at times the last two days, Saturday’s first semifinal saw Netherlands’ 13th-seeded Nummerdor/Varenhorst outmuscled Canada’s 23rd-seeded Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter in two sets, 23-21, 21-13 in 37 minutes.

To the thrill of the swelling crowd on the Barueri  stadium center court in the final semifinal of the day, Brazil’s sixth-seeded Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego overcame the aggressive effort by Poland’s 16th-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, as the home-country favorites won in straight sets, 28-26, 21-17 in 40 minutes to earn their spot in Sunday’s gold medal match.

In the opening semifinal, Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst used a combination of height and experience to stop the exciting march by Canada’s Binstock/Schachter. After a very close first set that saw the Canadians keep within a point or two most of the set and tying it at 21-21 before the Netherlands scored the final two points to win the set. Disappointment and frustration showed clearly in the play of the Canadians in the second set as Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst gradually pulled away to close out the set and the match.

The second men’s semifinal had Brazil’s iconic tandem of Ricardo/Emanuel using their skill and experience to outlast the Poland’s young, athletic duo of Kantor/Losiak and it took all the Brazilians could muster in the first set to come from behind and save off four match points to finally overcome the Polish pair. Obviously shaken by their first set loss, Poland’s Kantor/Losiak came out a bit overwhelmed to start the second set and Brazil’s Ricardo/Emanuel capitalized and patiently moved their way through the set building enough of an edge to pull out the match win in two sets.

Christiaan Varenhorst (NED): “It's only our second tournament and already a final two spot so I'm excited for tomorrow already. I asked Reinder because me and my partner decided our season was finished (partnership), so then I asked him because I felt I still wanted to play some tournaments, I felt physically good, mentally good and I felt like there was more to achieve, and I think we'veproven ourselves now. Only the feeling having him next to me makes me more calm and makes me play my own game and sometimes if I lose my head he tells me just do whatever your strength is and you'll be fine.

Reinder Nummerdor (NED): “Back in the final! I played with my old partner back in the Klagenfurt final in 2012 before the Olympics. We decided in the last tournaments to play together and see what we could achieve, how the chemistry is between us and well, it's working out great so far! We lost the first set almost in the first five points. I made some mistakes in the beginning. We didn't say much because I knew I was still getting my rhythm, and I was just searching a little bit how they were playing and we found a good rhythm after that, the side-out was going better and better and we made some crucial points in the end. It was really important to win the first set.

“I always say it's just a matter of playing like it's any other game, that's the key, if you can get that in your head, you do what you do every day, but that's not easy with the pressure of a final, but tomorrow we will see if we have learned that lesson as a team.”

Ricardo (BRA): “The invite from Emanuel to return to play together was a big surprise. He was playing with Pedro Solberg and me with Alvaro Filho, but this is a project that I have a lot of confidence in. We had a victorious partnership in the past and after he called me I believed that we could return and form a very competitive team. To be in the gold medal match is a pleasant surprise for everyone, in our coaching team, friends and family. To return to competing together on the FIVB World Tour and already getting to a final is an enormous happiness, and it's great to re-live all this. It has been pleasing and we are very dedicated.”

Emanuel (BRA) “When I invited Ricardo it was already near the end of the season. Soon after the tournament in Australia, I suffered a problem with my foot and I invited Ricardo to try and form a new Olympic project, thinking about the Pan American Games in 2015 and, obviously, the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. We have a lot of patience because we know we are old, but we have experience. We know that we will have to face teams that are stronger physically. Each tournament we are improving, and now we have some new elements to our old chemistry.”

Bartosz Losiak (POL): “This was a long tournament and both teams were very tired, maybe for some people this wasn't a good match, but we won and we're very happy. This is the last tournament this year for us. Maybe next year we'll play better and be less tired. We have won four medals including three gold medals in FIVB age group world championships. Because we got a bronze medal in an FIVB Grand Slam on the FIVB World Tour, maybe this win is better because we played very good teams, not like young teams, andthis tournament is very important for us because it gives us points for next year and next year’s FIVB world championships. We feel amazing, first time top four, first time medal, we're very happy.”

As the host nation, Brazil has six teams in the men’s main draw. Brazil had four men’s teams pre-seeded into the main draw and two more teams emerged from Tuesday’s qualification tournament. For the men, the Brazilian teams in the main draw and their record so far overall is 13-10 and individually is Marcio Araujo/Fabio Luiz Magalhaes (0-3), Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt (3-1), Pedro Salgado/Alvaro Filho (1-2) and Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego (6-0). The men’s qualification teams from Brazil who advanced and their overall tournament records are Gustavo Carvalhaes/Allison Cittadin (2-2) and Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves (1-2).

The FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam is the 310th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 274th FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. There has been at least one FIVB World Tour event in Brazil since it started 28 years ago and this is the 36th men’s and 31st women’s FIVB World Tour event held in Brazil.

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