Moscow Grand Slam reaches business end
Only the USA are represented in both draws. They are represented in the men’s by Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser who will aim for their first title of the season, but only after they have overcome Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel.
The second men’s semifinal is between Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, who are aiming for a third FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold and must get past Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov to reach the final.
In the women’s draw USA’s Kerri Walsh and April Ross start the action at 12.00 (local time) when they face the Netherland’s Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink. Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo then play Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima.
Italian pair keep up strong start to 2014 in Moscow
Nicolai and Lupo, 2014’s leading side, continued their quest for further success when they reached the semifinals.
They will now face Semenov and Krasilnikov at 14.00 on Sunday (local time), while the USA’s Rosenthal and Dalhausser will take on Poland’s Fijalek and Prudel an hour later.
The Italian duo won three matches in the one day, culminating in a thrilling 2-1 (21-19, 16-21, 15-11) victory over Brazilian pair Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt.
“We are two very, very, similar teams, with a good blocker and a very good defender each,” Nicolai said.
“Alison is among the best blockers in the world and certainly the best at putting pressure on his opponents. You have to change you style and try and find different ways to get past him because he is huge, so of course we are very happy we’ve won.”
World Tour champs lay down marker ahead of semifinals
World Tour champions Talita and Taiana put on a show of strength to lead the charge to the semifinals with a 2-0 (21-10, 21-16) victory against Polish duo Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska.
It means they now face Baquerizo and Liliana for a place in the gold medal match on Sunday after the Spanish pair defeated China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia.
“I think we played very well and we were very focused,” Talita said. “The Polish girls have played well in the tournament and before us they beat the Czech Republic team (Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova).
The second semifinal will pitch the recently-crowned European champions van Iersel and Meppelink against the USA’s Ross and Walsh.
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Moscow Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 11 through to Sunday June 15. It is the sixth event and the second Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Berlin Grand Slam which runs from June 17-22.