2018-07-13 20:49:00 CEST

Italians dump out reigning champs

Lupo/Nicolai will meet Herrera/Gavira for a place in the final

Nicolai (left) and Lupo are going for gold in GstaadNicolai (left) and Lupo are going for gold in Gstaad

There will be a new men’s Beach Major Series champion after last season’s Gstaad champions Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser were eliminated by Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai in the Alps.

The Europeans gained revenge for their Fort Lauderdale Major final defeat by the Americans in March with a straight sets victory to set-up a semifinal meeting with Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira.

Lupo and Nicolai have gone mighty close to winning a Major Series gold before – twice collecting silver medals, but the dream of a golden cowbell is well and truly on.

“You don’t know how much we want this medal,” said Nicolai. “I think we deserve one. For many years we have been very consistent at the highest level and we will try and make this happen.

“We face the Spaniards, who are our friends. We’ve met them many, many times – we always seem to play them – but we lost to them last time so we want to do well against them in the semifinals.”

For Dalhausser, it was a strange feeling to leave Gstaad without a cowbell. “I think I’ve been in Gstaad 10 or 11 times – and I’ve been lucky to win six cowbells. It’s disappointing to lose but Gstaad has been good to me.”

Herrera/Gavira celebrate their quarterfinal win over the DutchHerrera/Gavira celebrate their quarterfinal win over the Dutch

The Italians will now face a Herrera/Gavira constellation that is celebrating their 100th World Tour tournament together.

Now one of the world’s most consistent teams – who won gold in Ostrava two weeks ago – are hoping to mark the occasion with a cowbell to add to the bronze they won here in 2009.

The duo beat Olympic bronze medalists Robert Meeuwsen and Alex Brouwer of the Netherlands on Center Court to seal their place in the semifinal.

“We’re looking forward to a high-class semifinal,” Pablo. “The level is so high in tournaments but we have been playing to a good standard in the last two tournaments so we’re happy with the way we are playing at the minute.”

The men’s semifinals take begin at 12.45pm CET before the gold medal match at 6.30pm CET. All matches will be live on BeachStream.

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