Austria's Huber-Seidl strike again beating Brazil for bronze
After an incredible run of success in Fuzhou, bottom seeds Huber and Seidl progressed onwards and upwards from the Qualification Tournament to the bronze medal match where they faced three-time Olympic medallist Ricardo playing in his 120th FIVB World Tour/Open final four with his new partner Álvaro Morais.
It did not take the Austrians long to secure the medal, beating the Brazilians in just two sets 2-0 (21-18, 21-18). Veteran Ricardo ranks second in the all-time FIVB World Tour/Open individual gold medal tally and begins the new season with 22-year-old Álvaro Morais.
Competing against their idols
The Austrians have been playing together since 2009, but had never finished higher than 13th in an FIVB World Tour/Open prior to today.
“We’re feeling great. When we started in the tournament our goal was qualify, our next goal was to get through the group and then our next goal was to make it through the next match and the next match. We did it and won match after match and it’s amazing,” said Huber.
“It was a hard match. I think it was our 11th match of the tournament and against Olympian Ricardo. He’s an idol and it’s great to play against him, we just wanted to enjoy it. We aimed to play against them and we won, we played well,” said Seidl.
“I was probably the biggest fan of Rogers and Ricardo. In my first years in Klagenfurt I was a ball retriever and scorer and I remember collecting the shirts of the players. I have a shirt from Ricardo in 1997 or 1998 and now I can play against them it’s just unbelievable,” said Huber.
Brazil’s fourth place finish
Ricardo teams up with newcomer Álvaro Morais in 2013 and the fourth place finish in their first international tournament together bodes well for the pair’s future.
“I had a tough tournament and then in the morning we had a tough game against Phil and Sean. Congratulations to the guys from Austria, they played very well in the tournament,” said Álvaro Morais.
“This is my first tournament with Ricardo in an FIVB competition. So because we have just played one tournament we didn’t have a long time to practice a lot, so I think this tournament was very good for my team. Next is the Shanghai Grand Slam so we will try to do our best there.”
USA’s Sean Rosenthal and Philip Dalhausser take gold after beating Italy’s Nicolai Paolo and Daniele Lupo in the final of the Fuzhou Open in China on Saturday.
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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