Three-set matches highlight Transavia Grand Slam men’s quarterfinals
The Hague, The Netherlands, July 19, 2014 - With hot and dry weather conditions during the afternoon men’s quarter-finals of the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam presented by Bas Van de Goor Foundation, three of the four matches were extended to three sets to determine the lineup for the evening semi-final matches on Scheveningen beach.
With air temperature at 41°c (106°f) with 20 percent humidity, pairs from Brazil, Poland and United States advanced to semi-finals of the ninth FIVB World Tour event on the 2014 calendar where the finals will be played Sunday at The Hague Beach Stadium.
Top-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal of the United States avoided elimination as the American Olympians survived two match points by fifth-seeded Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira of Spain to post a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21 and 17-15) win in 50 minutes.
With the third and deciding set tied 15-15, two Dalhausser aces secured the win. “The difference between the two teams were the final points. We had two aces at the end. It was a close match. Herrera and Gavira served very well today,” said Rosenthal.
"The condition in the first set was hard because of the wind,” said Dalhausser as he and Rosenthal will be seeking their third-straight gold medal after topping the podium in Norway and Switzerland in the last two FIVB World Tour events. “The ball moves in the air. When the wind blows in your face you can serve hard."
When asked about playing third-seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in Saturday’s second men’s semi-final, Dalhausser said “last week we won in the final against them. It's a disadvantage because they will want to have revenge."
Posting the first two three-set victories were sixth-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel of Poland and eighth-seeded Emanuel Rego/Pedro Salgado of Brazil as the two teams will be meeting for the first-time this season. For the Poles, they will be competing in their second “final four” this season while Emanuel and Salgado have advanced to the semi-finals for the third time.
Fijalek and Prudel rallied from a narrow first set loss to 11th-seeded Nick Lucena and Ryan Doherty to score a 2-1 (19-21, 21-11 and 15-8) win in 47 minutes. Emanuel and Pedro out-lasted fourth-seeded and reigning FIVB World Tour champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia 2-1 (23-21, 12-21 and 15-13) in 56 minutes on The Hague Beach Stadium court.
“We’re mentally very strong,” said the 41-year old Emanuel, who is seeking his 77th FIVB World Tour gold medal and first with Salgado. “We’re playing together a long time and we really trust each other while playing. That why we’ve won today.”
For Salgado, who won the Transavia Grand Slam last season with Bruno Oscar Schmidt, said “it’s time to win this grand slam. The game was very close with the Latvians in the first set and we lost the second set by a wide margin. It doesn't matter if you lose with 5-21 or 19-21, at the end it's all the same. They played very well but we stayed concentrated and focused throughout the game. I took a medical break because I was so tired.”
In a two-setter, Alison and Bruno scored a 2-0 (22-20 and 21-19) win in 38 minutes over the seventh-seeded Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany. For Bruno, it is the second-straight trip to a semi-final in The Hague as he and Salgado won the 2013 gold medal on Scheveningen by defeating Fijalek/Prudel in the semi-finals and Samoilovs/Smedins in the title match.
As a “prelude” to the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, the final day of the Transavia Grand Slam will be staged at the Scheveningen courts where the medal matches will be played Sunday at The Hague Beach Stadium. The final two teams in both gender’s competition with be competing for the gold medals and a share of the $70,000 first-place prize for each winning team.
Following this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour returns to the United States for the second-straight year as Long Beach in southern California hosts another $1-million event. The international circuit returns to Europe in August for stops in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 29-August 3) and Poland (Stare Jablonki, August 19-24).
Men’s Quarter-final Quotes
Emanuel Rego, Brazil - “We’re mentally very strong. We’re playing together a long time and we really trust each other while playing. That why we’ve won today.”
Pedro Salgado, Brazil - “It’s time to win this grand slam. The game was very close with the Latvians in the first set and we lost the second set by a wide margin. It doesn't matter if you lose with 5-21 or 19-21, at the end it's all the same. They played very well but we stayed concentrated and focused throughout the game. I took a medical break because I was so tired. “I took a medical break because I was so tired.”
Jan Smedins, Latvia - “We made too many mistakes. We're not stable enough to win the third set. The last couple of tournaments we didn't win a third set. I don't know why. We have to figure it out and we need to make some changes. We played very well in the second set. We had some good blocks, but in the third set we haven't had any blocks at all. We need to make more blocks in the third set and then we will win the set and the match. I love to play in The Hague. It is a great tournament and the weather is good. It is not too hot. The last years we had rain. So I'm happy with this kind of weather.”
Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Latvia - “Our defense was not good enough today. We need to be more focused. And maybe we have to show less emotions. I know the crowd loves it, but it is good to have emotions when it is goes well and not when it goes wrong.”
Phil Dalhausser, United States - "The condition in the first set was hard because of the wind. The ball moves in the air. When the wind blows in your face you can serve hard." In the next round Rosenthal and Dalhausser play against Brazilians Alison and Bruno. "Last week we won in the final against them. It's a disadvantage because they will want to have revenge."
Sean Rosenthal, United States - “The difference between the two teams were the final points. We had two aces at the end. It was a close match. Herrera and Gavira served very well today.”
Adrian Gavira, Spain - “The first set, our service was good. We’re happy we had a chance to win the match. But we already lost five quarterfinals, so that’s not very good for our confidence. And we were so close this time. We pressed and our defense was really good. But maybe next time. The wind was good and the temperature is nice for us, so we hope we’ll have that next year. And then we will win the world championships!”
Pablo Herrera, Spain - “The first set was from our side perfect. In the second they became very strong. But in the third it was only one point difference. It was so close. In the last two points my reception was bad, unfortunately. We have to play perfect against them. We became better here in The Hague. This city is one of the best locations for a World Championship.
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