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Rosenthal celebrates birthday with opening day win at Rome Grand Slam

Sean Rosenthal is aiming to win his first Grand Slam with Phil Dalhausser in Rome
Rome, Italy, June 19, 2013 – Sean Rosenthal ensured that his birthday celebrations wouldn’t be marred by a shock result on the opening day of the smart Grand Slam - Romeira 2-0 (21-19, 21-14). 

It was a tough opening match for the third seeds, who found themselves up against one of the most experienced pairings on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World tour, one that contains an Olympic silver medallist in Herrera. 

The Spaniards have slipped down the rankings as Herrera had been unable to play due to a knee injury and they needed to go through qualifying to reach the main draw in Rome. 

“That’s the best fourth seed I’ve seen in a pool and it’s happened because Pablo hasn’t played much because of injury and when you see them you know you’re in a tough pool,” Rosenthal said. “They’re a great team and it’s good to get out of this heat with a win.”

Once again the temperature in the Eternal City topped 30°c, in contrast to last week’s Hague Grand Slam in which teams had to battle wet and windy conditions.

Rosenthal and Dalhausser are in their first season together after teaming up at the end of 2012 and while they won their opening FIVB tournament as a team, the Fuzhou Open, they have yet to claim gold in a Grand Slam. 

“It’s good. I’m excited for the future and I know if we play our game we can be a good team,” Rosenthal added. “It’s just about getting used to each other and how each other sets. 

“We have lot of kinks to work out, but so far we’re close to happy with how we’ve started. We started with a win and we’ve fallen down every time since, but there are a lot of great teams out here and you can’t take anyone for granted.”

Hague golden boys continue run of form

Another team to start off with a win are The Hague Grand Slam gold medallists Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Pedro Salgado. 

The Brazilian duo had to face Italian pair Matteo Cecchini and Federico Morichelli and while they were pushed hard, they had too much class and finished with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) win.
“What we did last week was great, but this is a new tournament, everything is different and the weather is the total opposite to last week,” Bruno said. “We played well in this first game with the young Italians, who were a team we’ve never played before.”

The victory in The Hague was Pedro and Bruno’s first FIVB tournament win together since 2006 when they won the U21 World Championships in Myslowice. 

The pair also won the silver at the Shanghai Grand Slam, but are taking nothing for granted in Rome.

“I hope we play as good as we did in The Hague, but it is a totally different tournament for us,” Pedro said. “It is very, very important that we forget last week and start a new week. It is the same in each tournament; you have to forget whether it is good or if it is bad, it’s in the past.”

The Rome Grand Slam is the fourth Grand Slam of 10 on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The competition runs from June 17 until June 23, when both the men’s and women’s finals take place. 

Following the Rome Grand Slam, the world’s leading players take a week’s break before the start of the ninth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki from July 1-7. After the World Championships are completed the World Tour resumes the following week at the Gstaad Grand Slam in the Swiss Alps. 

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