World champs march on in Gstaad
Prior to their success at Mazury 2013, they had finished ninth at the Shanghai, Corrientes, The Hague and Rome Grand Slams and have now matched them in Gstaad with a 2-1 (21-11, 15-21, 15-8) victory over the Polish pair.
“It is really nice to beat Fijalek and Prudel for the first time this season, “Brouwer said. “We lost a couple of times in really tough matches, in tie-breaks. Again it was a tie-break, but luckily my partner was serving like crazy in the third set and blocking as well.”
Since their victory in Poland life has been a whirlwind for the duo and in their only day back home between Mazury 2013 and Gstaad, they were in high demand from fans and media.
It has meant that they haven’t been able to prepare as they would have liked for Gstaad and while they lost to Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira they have felt their self-belief grow in the Swiss Alps.
“We arrived on Monday at two o’clock and we had to stay at the airport till six because we had interviews and had to see our family and friends,” Brouwer said. “But we also had a press conference. I think all of the Netherlands saw that final because it was on national television. Then when I got home radio stations called and so I haven’t been sleeping really well for the last few nights.
“Of course we are playing confidently throughout this tournament, but physically we are not in our best shape. Thanks to our amazing physiotherapist though, we are still keeping it together. We know we can score points and we know we can serve strong and I think the serve made the difference in this match.”
Brazilian pair shade battle of the legends
Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego, the team who preceded Brouwer and Meeuwsen as world champions, enjoyed a mixed day, but ended it with a place in the second elimination round.
The Brazilians lost their final pool match to Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, which set up a first elimination round clash against one of the players that succeeded Emanuel as Olympic champion, Todd Rogers and his new partner Ryan Doherty, which they won 2-1 (21-13, 13-21, 15-7).
“It is always good when American and Brazilians play, they both like to fight,” Emanuel said. “It is the main strength of both teams and it is always a pleasure to play against a competitive guy like Todd Rogers.
“I like his style. He is very calm and he does what he has to do and waits for the right moments throughout the game.”
Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Rogers has been playing with Doherty since the start of the year and they have now made it though pool play in four tournaments this year.
Doherty came to beach volleyball relatively late having played minor league baseball. Now that he is playing with Rogers though, Emanuel has no doubt that they will soon be challenging the leading teams on a more regular basis.
“He’s trying to help his new partner become competitive on the World Tour,” Emanuel said. “He is one of the best players ever on the FIVB tour, but I think this is only their fourth of fifth event together.
“It is very hard when you start on the Tour; it is very tough, especially this year when you have a lot of new teams and a lot of young players trying to make their mark. I think they’re on the right path.”
The Gstaad Grand Slam is the fifth Grand Slam of 10 on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The tournament began with women’s qualifying on Tuesday July 9 and ends with women’s and men’s medal matches on Sunday July 14.
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