The tradition of giving viking swords as presents to the winners has been reintroduced, as well as one of the legendary FIVB World Tour stops in Stavanger. In the return of the Norwegian Grand Slam to the international beach volleyball family for the first time since 2011, the Americans Dalhausser-Rosenthal won their first title in 2014.
Despite the fact that the season started with some European domination, US players kicked back and grabbed the most precious and anticipated medals for a second weekend in a row. After Hyden-Bourne‘s sensational win in Berlin, Germany, now it was time for probably the best American pair to shine in Stavanger. In the final on Sunday Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal met familiar faces. Ricardo Alex Costa Santos, owner of six gold medals in Stavanger overall with several different partners and winner of the last event here in 2011, and his teammate Alvaro Filho from Brazil had to satisfy themselves with a second-place finish after a straight-set defeat (16-21, 16-21).
The top-seeded Americans showed great volleyball throughout the whole week and won the Grand Slam with an immaculate record of victories and only one dropped set (against the ambitious Germans Walkenhorst-Windscheif). The good momentum was emphasized on by Sean Rosenthal, “It feels amazing for Phil and I to get a first win this year and it feels like we are getting better and better. We had a tough week last week and Phil was really sick. This week we were back and started getting better and better and got our first win. I started playing on the World Tour in 2006 and that year I came here the first time and saw the swords and they are the best trophies in all of beach volleyball and now I’ve got one.”
The two teams in contention for the bronze in Stavanger were a bit unexpected, mainly because they both came all the way from the qualifications (quite a decent trend, actually). Switzerland’s Philip Gabathuler and the youngster Mirco Gerson repeated their third-place finish from Anapa this year by beating Kazakhstan’s Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko in a tie-break (28-30, 21-19, 15-9). Gabathuler-Gerson stepped on a Grand Slam’s podium for the first time in their careers, whereas the 2013 Asian champions Sidorenko-Dyachenko saw their hard work pay off with their best ever World Tour finish since their partnership started back in 2009.
The run of Grand Slams will cease for a week and will resume again in two week’s time from the Swiss Alps and the picturesque little town of Gstaad with another emblematic World Tour event.