World champions stay on course to add Olympic title to collection
Emanuel (right) and Alison continued their path towards adding Olympic gold to their FIVB World Championships title when they beat Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins in the last four|
London, Great Britain, August 7, 2012 – FIVB world champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti remain on course to add the London 2012 Olympic Games title to their collections with a 21-15, 22-20 win over Latvian duo Martin Plavins and Janis Smedins at Horse Guards Parade.
It means Emanuel has the chance to win a second Olympic title. He previously won gold at Athens 2004, alongside Ricardo Santos.
“There’s one more game,” Emanuel said. “We played really good and we knew we would have to because they have a lot of skills. I’m playing with a player 12 years younger than me, who has a young and powerful game and he is my motivation to stay in the Olympics.”
Alison scored the opening point of the match with a trademark spike and from then on the Brazilians were firmly in control and they opened up gaps in the Latvian’s defence that they took advantage of with élan. Janis Smedins' service error brought up match point and Alison blocked at the net to give the Brazilians the first set.
The second set continued in the same way and Emanuel and Alison appeared set to cruise to a straightforward victory before Plavins and Smedins rallied to come within one point. Two points from Smedins brought them level and after Brazil went to match point, they saved one, but were once again unable to get past Alison at the net as the Brazilians wrapped up the win.
Despite their defeat the Latvians have been a huge hit with the London 2012 crowds and still have the chance to improve on their fourth place finish from the 2011 FIVB World Championships.
“It’s ok, they are a very strong team, world champions from last year and going for the gold medal,” Plavins said. “Alison is great on the court. We are pleased to get 20 points in the second set and I hope they get the gold medal, but we will continue to fight for the bronze.”