The Hague, Netherlands, January 4, 2018 – Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman started the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Dela Beach Open in the way they would have wanted on Thursday, by continuing their winning form from the end of 2017.
The Canadian pair finished 2017 by winning gold at the Sydney 2-Star event, their first World Tour event together, and they quickly rediscovered their winning form at the indoor arena at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) victory against Austria’s Robin Seidl and Christoph Dressler.
“It’s never simple on the Tour, but we had a good game plan going in to today and it paid off,” Saxton said. “We had a good solid match from start to finish.”
Sydney gold was both players’ first World Tour gold, and completes Saxton’s collection after he won one silver and four bronze with former partner Chaim Schalk.
O’Gorman won silver at the 2013 FIVB U21 World Championships and bronze at the 2011 FIVB U19 World Championships, but gold in Sydney represented his first World Tour medal of any colour.
“It is a new dynamic, working in the new stuff,” Saxton said. “The win in Australia gave us a little bit more confidence coming into today. We’re just going to keep building as a new partnership and get better every game.
“It is always going to be a learning curve with a new partnership and we’ll keep chugging along, one play at a time.”
Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and George Wanderley are another new partnership on the World Tour in 2018. The Dela Beach Open is their first together after they teamed up over the Brazilian summer and their partnership pits one of the most experienced players on the Tour with one of the upcoming stars of Brazilian beach volleyball.
Pedro has won 18 World Tour golds, one of which came in The Hague in 2013. He also won bronze in the city at the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship.
George won gold at both the U19 and U21 World Championships and then added his first senior gold at the 2017 Espinho 2-Star tournament alongside Vitor Felipe.
Their mix of youth and experience came to the fore in their opening match when they held their nerve to edge a tight first set, before winning the match 2-0 (26-24, 21-14) with a controlled performance in the second.
“The first set was really tough and they played really good,” Pedro said. “The second set we played very well and I don’t think they played their best, but it was still very hard.”
For more information on the tournament, click here