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Vitor Felipe and Evandro complete golden run at Berlin smart Grand Slam

 
Evandro Goncalves (left) and Vitor Felipe completed their run from the qualifiers to win their first World Tour gold medal
 
Berlin, Germany, August 10, 2013 – Vitor Felipe and Evandro Goncalves beat Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the Berlin smart Grand Slam men’s gold medal match on Saturday to complete a run that had started in the qualifying round six days earlier. 

The Brazilians beat the Russians 2-1 (21-23, 21-13, 15-15) in 53 minutes to win their first ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal in their first final, in their first season together. 

“I can’t believe it,” Vitor Felipe said. “I’ve never stood on top of a podium before, be it FIVB or the Brazilian Tour or anywhere and now I’ve won gold.”

The pair’s previous best result was a quarterfinal finish at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships this year, but in Berlin they outperformed a number of higher profile Brazilian pairs to add their name to the country’s roll of honour. 

For Vitor Felipe the win ends a frustrating run of finals in which he has finished with a silver medal. He did it twice with Alvaro Filho at the FIVB U21 World Championships and then repeated the result with Marcio Gaudie Ley at the inaugural FIVB U23 World Championships this year. 

“My partner played so well,” Vitor Felipe said. “They were a difficult team and we had to concentrate hard.”

For Semenov and Krasilnikov the result is no less remarkable considering that they were playing in their first tournament together.

Semenov recently won the FIVB Anapa Open with Yaroslav Koshkarev, but an injury to his former partner meant he needed a new teammate in Berlin and the duo clicked immediately; they eliminated world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals and newly crowned European champions Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira in the semifinals. 

“I’m happy with second place in a Grand Slam and it is a big emotion for me,” Semenov said. “My partner is a very strong guy, has good defence and great hitting. 

“We played well this tournament and gelled quickly and we able to show off our skills. We played well today with good passing and hitting, but the Brazilians were better.”

Herrera and Gavira win three medals in three weeks with bronze

Herrera and Gavira recovered from their loss in the semifinal to claim the bronze medals. It is the pair’s third consecutive week in which they have won medals after winning silver at the Long Beach Grand Slam and gold at the European championships.

They beat Italian qualifiers Andrea Tomatis and Alex Ranghieri 2-0 (21-19, 21-16), a team that have now achieved their best ever World Tour finish after they were called up as late replacements for Paolo and Matteo Ingrosso.

"It is wonderful,” Herrera said. “This is our third medal in three straight tournaments. It was a tough match today, but with the support of the crowd we believed we could win the bronze and were able to do so.”

The Berlin smart Grand Slam is the seventh Grand Slam on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, which is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. There are also eight Open events and while they are not part of the World Tour, they still count towards the FIVB World Rankings and help open the door for development of the sport. 

The tournament concludes with the women’s gold and bronze medal matches on Sunday August 11, while the men’s medal matches took place on Saturday August 10. 

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