2015-07-12 17:00:00 CET
One week, two triumphs: On Sunday, July 12, Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt validated the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship they won only seven days earlier by earning gold at the Swatch Major Series stop in Gstaad, Switzerland. Latvia and the Netherlands completed the Swiss podium.
A battle of champions gave the capacity crowd in Gstaad’s 6,000-seat stadium a three-set spectacle as the new Swatch Major Series drew to a close, with Alison and Bruno taking on a pair of Latvians who have captured two consecutive FIVB World Tour titles, Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins. The sets see-sawed wildly, with the Brazilians dominating the first 21-16, only to have the lionhearted Latvians – who are newcomers in the Swatch Major Series Main Draw after knee surgery for Smedins – turn the tables to secure the second 21-13. In the third, Alison and Bruno showed why they’re the world champs by closing it down with a 15-10 win of the set and the match.
As teams in the deep Brazilian field fight to earn one of the country’s two 2016 Olympic berths for each gender, Olympic qualifying points are precious. The Swatch Major Series awards 800 points to each winning team, as well as a share of the total prize purse of US$800,000 on offer at each tournament, making the win especially satisfying for Alison and Bruno.
“We’re very tired, but happy. It’s been a tough tournament, so to go three sets in the final was really hard,“ said Bruno, who gave credit to Alison’s blocking as they were awarded the cowbell trophy presented at top Swiss sporting events.
With stunning Alpine peaks as a backdrop, the bronze medal match was a tussle between two teams who had stood on the podium together at the series’ first tournament, the Poreč Major in June. The Netherlands’ Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, the 2013 FIVB world champions who won in Poreč, and Italy’s Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula, a new team who had earned bronze at that Croatian contest, also went three sets, with the Dutchmen prevailing, 18-21, 21-16, 15-10.
On Saturday, Brazilian women stood on the top two steps of the podium, with Larissa França and Talita Antunes claiming gold, Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima wearing silver, and Canada’s Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan taking the bronze.
The FIVB World Tour climaxes with the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, USA, September 29–October 4, 2015.