Fort Lauderdale, USA, March 4, 2018 - After placing second and third in the first two FIVB World Tour events in 2015 and 2017, the third time was a charm as Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena captured the men's gold medal here Sunday at the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major.
Seeded first in the Fort Lauderdale Major, Dalhausser and Lucena posted their sixth-straight win on Sunday by defeating fifth-seeded Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai to capture the $40,000 first-place prize while the Italians left the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park center court sharing $32,000 for finishing second.
Dalhausser and Lucena have now won three-straight matches over Lupo and Nicolai and have a 4-1 FIVB World Tour match mark against the Italians, who placed second at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and captured the European continental championships last August.
With Sunday's event being the 375th men's FIVB World Tour since the start of the international circuit in February 1987, the United States has now defeated Italian teams in five of six international gold medal matches. One of the gold medal wins was by Dalhausser and Lucena over Lupo and Nicolai at the April 2016 FIVB stop in Fuzhou, China.
Competing in their 28th FIVB World Tour event, Dalhausser and Lucena have now captured nine gold medals with the Sunday podium placement being their 17th. The Italians are now 3-10 in FIVB gold medal matches as Lupo and Nicolai were awarded their 20th medal in 68 career events together.
Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins captured the bronze medal as the 12th-seeded team posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) bronze medal win in 42 minutes over ninth-seeded qualifiers Pedro Solberg and George Wanderley. The Latvians split $20,000 for placing third while Solberg and George shared $16,000 for their fourth-place finish.
The women’s medal matches were played on Saturday before the men’s semifinals with Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas defeating Carolina Horta/Taiana Lima 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) in the 42-minute All-Brazilian gold medal match while Americans Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat captured the third spot on the Fort Lauderdale Major by defeating Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) in the 32-minute bronze medal contest.
While the women do not play a FIVB World Tour event until April 8-11 in Satun, Thailand, the men will be over the next two weeks starting on Tuesday with the KATARA Beach Volleyball Cup 2018 in Doha, Qatar. Two events are scheduled the next week after Qatar in Oman (March 14-17) and Aalsmeer, the Netherlands (March 15-18).