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Olympic Champions Reign Supreme at Men’s Brasília Open

Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego (Brazil), Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser (USA) and Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Benjamin Insfran (Brazil) on the podium after the men's medal matches at the Brasília Open.
Brasília, Brazil, April 25, 2010 - While legendary Brazilian Emanuel Rego became the first international Beach Volleyball player to win over US$2-million in a career, 2008 Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers became the first American men’s team to capture a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal in this South American country in 14 years by winning the Brasília Open title here Sunday.
Seeded third in the Main Draw for the Brasília Open, the season-opening SWATCH FIVB World Tour event on the international calendar in 2010, Dalhausser and Rogers scored a 21-16 and 21-12 and win in 38 minutes over the fifth-seeded Emanuel and Alison Cerutti to share the $30,000 first-place prize.  It was the American ninth international gold medal as the pair has now won its last three SWATCH starts after topping the podium in their final two FIVB appearances last season in France (Marseille) and Austria (Klagenfurt).
The last time an American men’s team had won on Brazilian sand was in 1996 in Fortaleza where Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh claimed the gold medal.  Since then, Brazilian pairs had won 15 of the last 17 Brazilian stops with two German teams breaking through in 2004 and 2006.  Teams from the United States had won the first seven Brazilian FIVB stops, including five by Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos (1987, 1989-1992).
With his share of the $21,000 second-place prize, Emanuel has now accumulated $2,004,485 for 194 FIVB events since 1994.  Emanuel, who captured the 2009 Brasília Open title with Ricardo Santos after defeating Alison and Harley Marques in the finals, has won 70 FIVB gold medals while playing in 98 finals while reaching the podium 132 times with 143 “final four” finishes.
In winning a gold medal on Brazilian sand for the first-time, Dalhausser and Rogers also avenged a title setback to Emanuel and Ricardo Santos in 2007 in Fortaleza.  The 2007 world champions, Dalhausser and Rogers also became the first American men’s team to win an opening SWATCH FIVB World Tour event since 2003 when compatriots Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard topped the year’s first podium in Rhodes, Greece.
In the first set of the gold medal match, Dalhausser and Rogers scored the first two points then jumped out to a 8-3 before pulling by nine at 16-9 before Alison and Emanuel closed to 19-15. Rogers ended the set on a cross-court kill. The deciding set was much closer as the Brazilians started out with the first two-points and the teams went back and forth early including three ties but the last was at 6-6 before the Americans ran six straight points . The built the lead up to 20-10 with Dalhausser blocks and Rogers sets and several kills of various movements.
“Both of us were in a good zone and everything went our way and not much went their way,” said Dalhausser. “I think that playing three matches yesterday helped us both get into a very good rhythm for the championship match.”
Rogers added, “We decided the serve the middle which worked and our experience as a team did give us a little edge. Being the first international tournament of the year and with all the great Brazilian players, I have always felt that this is the toughest tournament of the year. If you are playing in Brazil, you will be playing the best.”
In reaching their 12th SWATCH FIVB World Tour final in 26 international starts together, Dalhausser and Rogers had to win three Brasília Open elimination matches.  One of the wins were Saturday when Dalhausser and Rogers eliminated 2009 world champions and second-seeded Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany.
Sunday’s finale was the 43rd SWATCH FIVB World gold medal match featuring Brazilian and American teams. With Brazil now leading 24-19, Dalhausser and Rogers are 4-3 against South American pairs in the finals, including 2-0 against Alison and 2-3 against Emanuel.
In Sunday’s all-Brazilian bronze medal match held on another jam packed Brasília center court stadium prior to the championship final, seventh-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil defeated 11th-seeded Pedro Cunha and Thiago Santos Barbosa, 21-18 and 21-12 in 43 minutes. It was a rematch of their winner’s bracket quarterfinal match on Friday that Benjamin and Bruno won in three sets in the first meeting between the newly paired teams.  The bronze medalists earned $15,000 while Cunha and Thiago collected $11,200 for their fourth place placement.
The Brasília Open was the first of 12 double gender events on 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar.  With the Brazilian capital celebrating its 50th anniversary this past week, crowds exceeding 1-million attended various holiday activities on the Esplanada dos Ministérios in Brasília, especially during Wednesday’s anniversary celebrations which featured the unveiling event of the largest SWATCH watch in Latin America as well as the Brasília Open tournament.
After the Brasília Open, the 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar continues with a double gender event in Shanghai (May 3-9) followed by the season’s first grand slam event in Rome (May 17-23).  Seoul (women) and Myslowice (men) host single-gender events May 25-30.  After a week break, Moscow hosts the second grand slam event for men and women on the 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour June 7-14.


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