Three weeks after the historical first Grand Slam win in Rome, the Americans Jacob Gibb and Sean Rosenthal repeated the triumph by winning the Gstaad Grand Slam in the Swiss Alps. In the gold medal encounter the yankees again beat the silver medalists from Rome and current World Champions Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti.
For the 12th straight season the Swiss village of Gstaad welcomed the Swatch-FIVB World Tour. During the week in one of the most emblematic beach volleyball circuits in history, though situated on artificial platforms kilometers away from any major water basin, the participants had the chance to play at the highest geographic altitude on the World Tour map.
With only two other events before the London Olympics, pretty much all the teams arrived in Switzerland to gear up their shape. The group stage offered a great number of intense results and some surprises, which definitely guaranteed even more mesmerizing derbies in the later phases. Despite the European location, some of the best local couples were sent early in the showers to mark the dominance of Brazil and USA in 2012. 4 Brazilian, 3 American and an Italian team were still in the medal chase on Saturday evening.
Three of the four quarterfinals were Brazil vs. USA. The number-two-seeded Emanuel-Alison gave a headstart of the cariocas by eliminating Fuerbringer-Lucena, but Dalhausser-Rogers and Gibb-Rosenthal dominated in the other two matches. Benjamin-Bruno also failed to reach the semis as they were involved in the first of two amazing quarterfinals which they eventually lost to the last Europeans in the bracket Nicolai-Lupo from Italy by 1-2 (21-23, 23-21, 10-15). Dalhausser-Rogers won the other electrifying clash against Ricardo-Cunha in three sets (21-18, 30-32, 15-10). The second part won by the Brazilians was undoubtedly the set of the tournament.
In a rematch of the Rome Grand Slam approximately 20 days ago Gibb-Rosenthal showed no mercy against Emanuel-Alison and took a second pair of gold medals in as many recent events. We have to mention that, unlike the final in Italy, this time Emanuel-Alison played much better, but still not well enough to beat the Americans. Jake Gibb was again a block monster and closed the game with some nice actions.
Gibb: “It was an amazing tournament for us once again. It is an honor to play and rewarding to defeat a team like Alison and Emanuel who are the top team in the world. Sean and I have been playing together for seven years and two beat the reigning world champions in two straight gold medal matches is unbelievable.”
In the bronze medal game, which quite surprisingly was scheduled last in the program, the Italian underdogs Nicolai-Lupo showed their great improvement in 2012 and quite deservedly won against the top-seeded Dalhausser-Rogers in straight sets (21-19, 21-18). The young Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo looked fresh and quite motivated on the Swiss sand, Nicolai was very efficient at the net and finished most of the attacks as he was the target of the opponents’ serve. Dalhausser-Rogers stayed out of the podium this time even if they showed some nice actions during the Grand Slam overall. However, they urgently need to gain some fitness to be able to physically compete younger teams in a longer event. The Italians, on the other side, won a second World Tour medal this summer after seizing the silver in the Beijing Grand Slam.
Worth reporting is the victory of Gibb-Rosenthal in the all-American semifinal against Dalhausser-Rogers. A win that not only boosts their confidence for the Olympics, but also proves that in the last month they are the best team on the circuit and should be among the favourites to gain more glory in Great Britain.