Rosenthal and Dalhausser triumph with gold at Fuzhou Open
In their first tournament together Rosenthal and Dalhausser faced young Italian pair Paolo and Lupo securing the gold in a cool two sets 2-0 (21-18, 24-22). The silver for the Italians equals their best World Tour/Open result which was also in China at the Beijing Grand Slam in 2012.
“It was a great match, we match up similar. Nicolai is a great blocker, he’s great up there and Daniele is a big defender, he’s a tall kid in the back. They’re young and they’re getting better and better and it’s a great win for us, I’m stoked. This first win and this whole season is dedicated to my grandma who passed away this year,” said Rosenthal.
In the morning Rosenthal and Dalhausser met three-time Olympian Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and his new partner Álvaro Morais Filho from Brazil in the semi-final. The two teams battled to the very end in a close fought match, but Rosenthal and Dalhausser had the final edge 2-1 (19-21, 26-24, 20-18).
“We found the match against the Brazilians very tough. The new lefty, the young guy sided out time after time even after taking a ball into his face, but we were lucky enough just to pull it off,” said Dalhausser.
Rosenthal and Dalhausser only began training together in January, both having long successful careers with different partners. Dalhausser won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Todd Rogers, and Rosenthal played with Jacob Gibb from 2006 to 2012 winning multiple World Tour/Open medals.
“We’re feeling great. It’s our first tournament together and we did what we’ve been training to do and it felt great, it’s a good start,” said Rosenthal.
“I’m finding the new partnership pretty good, we’re one for one so I can’t complain and I don’t think Sean’s complaining either,” said Dalhausser.
Paolo was named the FIVB Most Improved Player in 2012 and it’s clear to see that the Italian pair is one to watch in 2013.
“When you lose a game it’s always disappointing but we know that Sean and Phil are a very good team, maybe the best of the World Tour and so we’ll try next time to do better,” said Paolo.
Paolo and Lupo’s semifinal was against 32nd seeded Austrians Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl. Huber and Seidl fought hard to pull back in the second set, but it wasn’t quite enough against the Italians who won their position in the final 2-0 (21-16, 23-21).
“The Austrian guys are like the surprise of this event and so we know that they can play very well. They beat Todd Rogers, they beat Gibb so we had a lot of pressure but we played well and so won the game,” said Paolo.
The bronze medal went to Austrians Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl after an outstanding tournament in which they went all the way to the podium from the Qualification Tournament. They beat three-time Olympic medallist Brazil’s Ricardo, playing in his 120th FIVB World Tour/Open final four and his new partner Álvaro Morais 2-0 (21-18, 21-18).
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The last day of the Fuzhou Open will decide the Women’s Main Draw medallists on Sunday.
Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province lies on the southeast coast of mainland China and hosts the Open event for the first time. The city held the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in 2012 where Christopher McHugh and Isaac Kapa were part of the silver medal Australian team.
The Fuzhou Open is the first of eight Open events during a bumper nine-month season, which also includes the FIVB World Tour – 10 Grand Slams and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
The Shanghai Grand Slam is the next tournament on the calendar running from April 30 to May 5.
Follow live comments throughout the tournament at #FuzhouOpen