Gstaad, Switzerland, July 13, 2018 - With a Brazilian men’s team not qualifying for the semifinals for the first-time in Gstaad since the start of competition here in 2001, pairs from Italy, Norway, Spain and the United States will vie for the podium places after winning quarterfinal matches on Friday afternoon at the $600,000 Gstaad Major.
Beach volleyball power Brazil had four teams in the 18th renewal of the men’s event in Gstaad with 13th-seeded Bruno Oscar Schmidt/Pedro Solberg posting the best finishes for the South Americans with a ninth-place after losing 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-12) in 52 minutes to 15th-seeded Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway.
The Norwegian win was the first of two Friday for Mol and Sorum who advanced to their second FIVB World Tour final four with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) quarterfinal win in 32 minutes over 26th-seeded qualifiers Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle of Belgium. It was the second meeting this season with Mol and Sorum defeating the Belgium boys in early January at The Hague.
Anders Mol on the shoulders of Norwegian partner Christian Sorum
With the Brazilians watching from the grandstands, other teams advancing to Saturday’s final four matches are sixth-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain, 12th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai and 21st-seeded Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States.
With the women playing quarter-final matches Saturday, the men’s semifinal will have Lupo/Nicolai challenging Gavira/Herrera with young Norwegians meeting Crabb/Gibb. The men’s medal matches will be Saturday afternoon where the winning team splits the $40,000 first-place prize.
Playing together in their 100th FIVB event together, Gavira and Herrera advanced to their 24th World Tour semifinal with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-12) win in 48 minutes over fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer/ Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. The match was the 16th FIVB confrontation between the two teams with the Spaniards now leading 10-6.
Four-time Olympian Pablo Herrera of Spain
Crabb and the 42-year old Gibb advanced to their first-ever FIVB World Tour final four together by posting a 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-13) win in 46 minutes over 18th-seeded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia as the two teams were meeting for the first time on the international circuit.
Americans Jake Gibb (left) and Taylor Crabb
In the last match Friday on the village center court, Lupo and Nicolai eliminated defending Gstaad Major champions Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) quarterfinal win in 42 minutes over the fifth-seeded Americans.
Paolo Nicolai (left) and Daniele Lupo of Italy
The win was Lupo and Nicolai’s second in six meetings with the Americans as Dalhausser and Lucena had won the last four matches with the Italians, including a two-set gold medal win in the United States at the start of March at the Fort Lauderdale Major in south Florida.
Dalhausser and Lucena had entered this week’s event with 18-straight match wins in the Beach Major Series events with three-straight gold medal finishes starting with a podium-topping effort in Gstaad and at the FIVB World Tour Finals last August in Hamburg, Germany.