Alison and Emanuel are back to defend their world title and as top
seeds they have a point to prove after they were unable to add
Olympic gold in London. They may have finished with the silver
medals after losing to Germans Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann in
a thrilling gold medal match, but having won gold at the World Cup
Finals earlier in June they will be out to prove that they are back to
their very best.
Poland is my main goal and we have been training for it,” Emanuel
said earlier in the year. “It’s a great opportunity for me and Alison to
keep the title. I’ll need to watch the first few events on the World
Tour and then we’ll see who our likely major challengers will be.
We need to prove ourselves in every match. That’s our focus, to
improve every game until we get there because first we’ll need to
build a good campaign to win there.”
There is likely to be a whole host of teams chasing Alison and
Emanuel, most notably the evergreen Ricardo Santos who is playing
in his eighth World Championships and out to make up from losing
the final in Rome with Marcio Araujo. Ricardo’s latest partner is
Alvaro Filho, who will take part in his first World Championships, but
who will be trying to help the 38-year-old Ricardo to a second title.
Away from the Brazilians, there are two US pairs eyeing the medals.
Former Olympic champion and 2007 winner Phil Dalhausser and his
new team-mate Sean Rosenthal are second seeds with a Fuzhou
Open title to their name, while Rosenthal’s former partner Jacob Gibb
and Casey Patterson are seeded third having started the year in fine
style with a Shanghai Grand Slam gold and two silver medals.
Larissa and Juliana finally won a world title at the 2011 World
Katrin Holtwick (left) and Ilka Semmler have started 2013 in fine form
Olympic goldmedallist Brink is seeded 16
with new partner Sebastian
Fuchs while Latvian Olympic bronze medallist Janis Smedins is fifth
seed with Aleksandrs Samoilovs while local pair Grzegorz Fijalek and
Mariusz Prudel are sixth.
In the women’s competition there will definitely be a new set of
names on the women’s trophy after Juliana and Larissa went their
separate ways at the end of 2012.
China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi are the top seeds on the back of
their solid form in 2012. Two years ago they left Rome with a bronze
medal, the same colour medal they won at Beijing 2008. However,
they were left disappointed by their failure to finish on the podium at
the London Olympics and having already won their first gold medals
of 2013 at the Fuzhou Open, they will have their sights fixed firmly
on the top of the podium.
Second seeds April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, champions in 2009, have
shown that they are players who respond to the big occasion. They
ended Juliana and Larissa’s final hopes in the semifinals of London
and subsequently left Britain’s capital with the silver medals in
their suitcases. Then earlier this year the two Americans won another
set of silver medals at the World Cup Finals in Campinas.
Emanuel (right) and Alison were at their very best at Rome 2011
BEACH VOLLEYBALLWORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS