2018-07-11 11:27:00 CEST
What a start to the Swatch Major Gstaad
It took less than an hour. In under 60 minutes of the Swatch Major Gstaad pool play, two results sent shockwaves throughout the Swiss Alps.
Reigning Olympic champion Alison Cerutti and last year’s World Champion Andre Loyola were humbled by Italian qualifiers Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta in straight sets.
The Europeans, playing their first Major Series event, recorded the result of their careers with a 21-10, 29-27 triumph on side court 3.
It was not a good morning for Brazilians. Andre’s former teammate, Evandro Gonçalves, with whom he stormed to victory in Vienna last year, was also on the receiving end of a shock defeat.
Evandro and new partner Vitor Felipe, the top seeds here in the mountains, were beaten by American wildcards Sean Rosenthal and Chase Budinger.
Budinger, the former NBA star, was in impressive form. With five blocks, Chase dominated Evandro at the net, and that paved the way for an impressive 21-19, 22-20 victory.
“It’s an incredible start, a year ago I would have never have thought I’d be blocking a world champion of beach volleyball at the net at a Major,” said Chase, smiling. “It was the perfect start.”
Two-time Gstaad champ Rosenthal was impressed with his partner’s performance in what is the pair’s first Beach Volleyball Major Series tournament together.
“Chase was brilliant,” said Rosie. “We feel that we are improving with every game. It’s given us a really good platform to build from. The win guarantees our place in the elimination round and now we want to top the pool.”
But how far can the new partnership go in the mountains?
“To win here would be extra special with Chase,” added Sean. “We’re not getting carried away but this result shows how strong we are and we’re looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”