The last Grand Slam event of summer 2011 brought a lot of emotions to the passionate Austrian spectators and proved its name as one of the most emblematic destinations for the beach volleyball elite.
In an extremely interesting final day the veteran Ricardo Santos and his new partner Pedro Cunha won the gold medals in front of 9000 fans against Brink-Reckermann from Germany.
Some weeks ago Ricardo split his professional relationship with Marcio Araujo in order to seek new challenges with the younger Pedro Cunha. They arrived as a fourth-seeded team enjoying only their second appearance together. The Brazilians obviously found their common rhythm pretty quickly and won a very difficult championship despite the disastrous beginning. Ricardo-Cunha were close to facing an early departure from Klagenfurt as they lost their two opening games in Austria against Plavins-Smedins (Latvia) and Boersma-Spijkers (Netherlands).
A convincing comeback versus the strong Russians Semenov-Koshkarev sent the fourth-seeded couple into the next round. From then on the Brazilians showed a new face – five consecutive victories, three of which against the top three teams in the world, were more than enough for Ricardo-Cunha to take their first gold as a tandem.
The last major event of 2011 will be also be remembered with something else in addition to the new title of the colossus Ricardo – the World Tour is having new leaders after the week at the Lake Woerthersee. On their way to the first place Ricardo-Cunha eliminated quite early in Round 2 the super favourites Emanuel-Alison who lost a lot of ranking points due to some shaky performances in the last weeks. Their main rivals – the Americans Dalhausser-Rogers, also lost to Ricardo-Cunha in the first semifinal, but managed to step on the podium by beating Bruno-Maciel from Brazil in straight sets.