Almost a year after Konstantin Semenov and Vyacheslav Krasilnikov reached their first World Tour final together in Berlin, the Russians claimed their first title. They lost to Plavins-Solovejs in the gold medal encounter at the Anapa Open a couple of weeks ago, but this time, quite to everyone’s surprise, won the Moscow Grand Slam.
In the final in the Russian capital Semenov-Krasilnikov met another European underdogs who had also been longing for their first World Tour title. The Poles Fijalek-Prudel are undoubtedly one of the best tandems in Europe, with a rich medal collection dating back from 2010, but they have always missed the gold shine of the awards.
The final on Sunday went in favour of the home favourites (23-21, 21-17). Semenov-Krasilnikov completed their dream run in which they knocked out the 2013 World Tour champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the quarterfinals and newly-crowned European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo in the semifinals.
“We had special tactics for this team and we were at our physical best and now feel like we can do anything. When we beat the Italian team (Nicolai-Lupo) it gave us the confidence to believe that we can beat anybody,” Konstantin Semenov said.
For only the third time this season medals were also won by a non-European team. The Americans Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal brought their country’s first pair of distinctions in 2014 by beating the best European team this summer Nicolai-Lupo in three sets (21-19, 15-21, 15-11). This was also the first weekend on which the Italians failed to make it to a podium.
The Moscow Grand Slam started a run of big-prize events in Europe with a total purse of $800,000. Berlin, Stavanger and Gstaad will offer the same monetary stimulus for the world’s best beach volleyball players, whereas the Transavia Grand Slam in The Hague, the Netherlands, will provide a million-dollar purse. The historic Grand Slam will also be based in four different cities in a preparation for next year’s World Championships that are to be held there.