Moscow medallists eye Berlin prizes as World Tour moves west
The tournament is the sixth of seven Grand Slams in eight weeks and by the time they are over the destination of the FIVB World Rankings titles will have become a little clearer.
Women’s gold medallists April Ross and Kerri Walsh are already setting their sights on it, but they will face stiff resistance from the team they defeated in the Moscow final, Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima, who will be going all out to retain the gold medals they won in the German capital a year ago and earn their first World Tour golds of the season.
In the men’s draw there will be a lot of teams aiming to make up for disappointing performances in the Russian capital. No Brazilian team made it beyond the quarterfinals, nor did the reigning World Tour champions Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs.
Recently-crowned European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo will want to add to the two World Tour golds they’ve already claimed, while the USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal will want to build on their Moscow bronze which they won against the Italian duo.
Ross and Walsh find golden ending at Moscow Grand Slam
Ross and Walsh claimed their first Grand Slam gold medal of 2014 when they defeated reigning World Tour champions Talita and Lima, 2-1 (21-17, 22-24, 15-13) in a match that swung backwards and forwards between two determined teams until Ross and Walsh nudged ahead right at the end of the third set before winning with their second match point.
The pair joined together after their previous partners – Misty May Treanor and Jennifer Kessy – retired from the sport. Walsh is targeting a fourth Olympic gold at Rio de Janeiro 2016, having won her third against Ross at London 2012.
“They came to win, they are a very good team and we were the number one and two seeds in the tournament so I think we both wanted to be here,” Ross said.
“I loved how we pulled it out in the end. We played as a team and it feels really good to win again.”
Russian pair claim first World Tour gold in Moscow
Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov won their first World Tour golds when they defeated Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel in the final of the Moscow Grand Slam on Sunday with a 2-0 (23-21, 21-17) victory.
“We can’t believe we’ve won,” Semenov said. “Our volleyball federation’s president’s birthday was today so this is our present for him. We were pleased with our support as that helped add another 50 percent to our performance.
Semenov and Krasilnikov completed their dream run in which they knocked out the World Tour champions Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs in the quarterfinals and newly-crowned European champions Nicolai and Lupo in the semifinals.
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Moscow Grand Slam ran from Wednesday, June 11 through to Sunday June 15. It was 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.