Rosenthal and Dalhausser off mark with gold in Rome
The US pair beat the Latvian’s 21-19, 21-18 to earn Rosenthal his second consecutive gold medal in Rome, a year after he and Jacob Gibb had topped the podium.
“I was struggling to side-out this whole week, but Phil picked me up and kept me in the game,” Rosenthal said. “That’s a great team; they’ve been in two straight finals. We got a good start and we carried that on in the second set.”
Rosenthal and Dalhausser only teamed up at the start of the year and while they won the season opening Fuzhou Open, they had not been able to find their way back to the podium in subsequent tournaments.
With Samoilovs and Smedins having enjoyed a gold and silver on the World Tour this year, they made life difficult, but the combination of Dalhausser’s prowess at the net and Rosenthal’s athleticism behind was enough to send them into the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in a week’s time in confident mood.
“For us as a team it is important,” Rosenthal added. “We came off a 17th last week, to come back to a place where we’ve both had success and to come through. I don’t think we’ve played our best, I don’t think we’ve even been close, but we’ve kept winning games and we’ve stayed close together.
“It’s big before the World Champs. We’re the first team to have two wins and whatever team won this one was going to be the first to two wins and we want to keep building momentum and keep on winning.”
While Smedins and Samoilovs were unable to add to the Corrientes Grand Slam gold that they won earlier in their first year together as a team, the silver medals are the second they have won in two weeks, having finished second at The Hague Grand Slam.
Now they have seven days to recuperate from their endeavours at the Rome Grand Slam, before the World Championships begin on July 1.
“We have one tournament in Latvia, it will be our first tournament in two years in Latvia,” Samoilovs said. “Then we go to Poland and a lot of Latvian fans will come. I know there are big buses coming. We need to relax a bit now and start our preparations.”
Bruno and Pedro claim bronze in all-Brazil affair
Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Pedro Salgado ensured that they would be on the podium for a second consecutive tournament by beating fellow Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti 2-0 (21-10, 21-10) in the bronze medal match.
The Hague gold medallists were in full control of the match thanks to Bruno’s agility at the back of the court and Pedro’s domination of the net and they didn’t let up their pressure once.
“We had a good conversation before this match, that we need to keep our level and take every opportunity we have,” Bruno said. “It is pretty good that we kept our level as we are a team that is developing and this bronze is like a gold to us.”
The Rome Grand Slam was the fourth Grand Slam of 10 on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The competition ran from June 17 until June 23, when both the men’s and women’s finals took 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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