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HP Beach Open | Men
  23/08/2011 - 28/08/2011

Brazil’s Cunha and Ricardo win HP Beach Open

Nummerdor spikes the Mikasa past Ricardo in the final
The Hague, the Netherlands, August 28, 2011 – Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos won their second gold medal at the FIVB Swatch World Tour HP Beach Open in The Hague on Sunday. They beat Dutch Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil in the final in three sets (15-21 21-18 15-8). The new Brazilian combination played four tournaments together so far, but the Dutch medal was already their second gold after the Klagenfurt Grand Slam early August. Russia’s Yaroslav Koshkarev and Konstantin Semenov captured the bronze in The Hague, their first World Tour medal ever.

Former olympic and world champion Ricardo won many medals with his old partner Emanuel Rego, but has been searching for a new partner after they split a few years ago. He started the season with Marcio Araujo, won silver at the World Championship in Rome but decided to go on with Cunha in July. In four tournaments the new pair finished first in Klagenfurt and The Hague, fifth in Stare Jablonski and 17th in Aland.

“I could not wish for a better partner”, Cunha said after the final in The Hague. This was only his fifth World Tour win, while Ricardo now has 52 World Tour titles. Cunha: “A lot has happened this season with changing partners, but I am happy now.” The Brazilians started off losing the first set 21-15. Both teams took risks serving, but the Dutch were more successful in doing so. Things turned around in the second set, according to Nummerdor due to the weather. “It started to rain really bad with a lot of wind. They handled that surprisingly better than we did. I did not expect that they would be that good in this weather.”

In the tiebreak the Dutch got of to a good start leading 2-0, but they lost their focus after a discussion with the referee. The passing was off, the sets not accurate anymore and on the other side of the net the Brazilians did not make a lot of mistakes. At 15-8 the match was decided. Asked about his 52nd title Ricardo said: “I never get tired winning, I cherish every title. I am very proud because we already won two titles in such a short time.”

Although the Dutch played against the two Brazilians individually it was the first meeting between the two teams. Three-time European champions Nummerdor/Schuil won the tournament on home soil in 2009, but finished only ninth last year. This year’s second place is their fourth silver medal overall, but their only World Tour medal this season, after winning six titles in previous years. Nummerdor: “But with this silver medal, the bronze we won at the Europeans championship and the national title the season ends happy after all.”

Cunha and Ricardo had the advantage of a warm-up match early Sunday morning. Their semifinal against Russia’s Koshkarev and Semenov was postponed Saturday evening due to thunderstorms. The Brazilians lost the first set (17-21) although they started with a lead. They recovered in the second (21-15). In the tiebreak Cunha/Ricardo scored seven points straight from 5-5, due to some good serving and they held on to that lead till the end (15-8).

A few hours later Koshkarev and Semenov put their disappointment aside and beat Czechs Petr Benes/Premysl Kubala in straight sets (21-18 21-19) for the bronze. The Russians exploded on centre court after the last point. For both players, who teamed up in June, it was their first medal ever on the Tour. “I have won some prizes as a junior, but never on the World Tour. So we are very happy. We were close a few times and now we finally did it. This morning we were still sleeping, but after losing the semifinal we said to each other: It is ok, we are going to win the bronze now. And we did”, Koshkarev said. He used to play with Igor Kolodinsky, but the Russian coaches decided to put Koshkarev and tall Semonov together for the Olympics next year.

The HP Beach Open was the last double gender tournament of the season. Starting next week the men take a rest for a month. Early October the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour finishes in Agadir for the men. The Morocco Open is their 14th and final World Tour event of the year. The women’s Tour ends in November in Phuket, Thailand.   
More press releases
28/08/2011 Brazil’s Cunha and Ricardo win HP Beach Open
27/08/2011 Dutch pair Nummerdor/Schuil in final HP Beach Open
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25/08/2011 Top seeded Fijalek and Prudel make no mistake in The Hague
24/08/2011 Eight teams from eight different countries advance to men’s main draw
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