The Brazilian World Tour ranking leaders Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti won a second consecutive Grand Slam this weekend after defeating the experienced Swiss couple Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda.
Despite the rain in Moscow the Cariocas managed to win the title, but had to play three sets and struggle in the tie-break. The Swiss pair demonstrated impressive serve ablities, which helped them equalise the score at one set each, but was not enough for their first trophy together. The victory in the final (21-16, 18-21, 17-15) established Emanuel-Alison as the best couple of the summer season.
A lot has been said and commented about Emanuel-Alison, their dominance in the World Tour so far has given them a comfortable lead ahead of the currently second-ranked Dalhausser-Rogers. Surprises can happen, of course, I am far away from thinking that the season is already over, but when discussing the Brazilians we should not just mention their results, but also the convincing style they demonstrate. You can notice they still make mistakes in the tour sometimes mainly due to a possible loss of concentration at moments, but when they are focused they look unbeatable. And whereas Alison is young, powerful and eager to succeed, the question is rather how long Emanuel will be able to stay in shape. The 38-year-old is making a great season in 2011 so far, but this will surely not last forever.
Good words should be said about Heuscher-Bellaguarda. In their first season together they already impressed by taking the bronze in the Beijing Grand Slam, an achievement now improved in Moscow. Patrick Heuscher has been successful with both of his previous partners, the numerous awards won with Stefan Kobel and Sascha Heyer made him a legend in the World Tour. Despite the more humble medal collection Bellaguarda has been predestined to form a good team with Heuscher – their results prove it and it was about time we saw them in a major final. It is astonishing how rich the beach volleyball history of Switzerland is based on the country’s geographical location in the centre of Europe.
In the third-place battle last year’s World Tour champions Dalhausser-Rogers overcame the 2010 Moscow Grand Slam winners Xu-Wu (China) in three long sets (25-27, 24-22, 17-15) to keep season title chances alive.
Last, before opening the laola1.tv stream for the next event, I should conclude with something that attracted my attention when checking the World Tour schedule. The open category event in Quebec (Canada) is organized just in between the series of Grand Slams. Now the competitors will be asked to move to North America for a week and then return to Europe to continue the battle for big money and ranking points. I do not know whether this decision is a correct one with respect to the distance between Moscow and Quebec, but the desire of some of the big names not to fly to Canada and stay in Europe in order to prepare for the forthcoming Grand Slams is just as curious. Some of the best couples from Germany, Brazil, China, Poland, Russia and Switzerland will be missing. The results in the next two weeks will show who picked up the most clever and energy-saving strategy. With this being said, now we will wait for some new names to shine in Quebec.