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Brazil’s Alison and Emanuel capture gold in Prague

posted May 23, 2011, 2:52 PM by Laurie Peterka
Gold for Brazil's Alison/Emanuel, silver for Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of USA and bronze for Switzerland's Sascha Heyer/Sebastian Chevallier
Reprinted from FIVB e-news, May 23, 2011
Prague, Czech Republic, May 22, 2011 – Brazil’s Alison and Emanuel put an end to Phil Dalhausser and Todd Roger’s winning streak on Sunday to capture the gold medal at the $190,000 Prague Open. In a rematch of last year’s final the number two seeded team defeated the Americans in just two sets (21-19, 21-14) and 39 minutes. It is the first FIVB Swatch World Tour gold medal Alison and Emanuel have won together.

Olympic and defending event champions Dalhausser and Rogers had not been defeated yet this year on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, winning the Brasilia Open and the Shanghai Open. Including last season they set a record in Shanghai winning nine consecutive tournaments. Until Sunday they were also on a winning streak of a record 40 matches straight. “We knew that they were coming after us”, Rogers said after the final. “They changed a few things, really surprising us. Next time it will be our turn to mix things up and surprise them. It is just like playing a chess game.” Key reason they lost the match in the soaring hot, but packed Stvanice Stadium was Alison (2.02m) winning the blocking and spiking battle at the net against Dalhausser (2.06m). “Also my passing was not good enough today”, Dalhausser said. “We will go back to the States now and practice hard for the Beijing Grand Slam and the World Championships in Rome.”

The first set of the final was close, the Brazilians needing two set points to secure it. In the second, USA trailing by 8-6, there was an incident that made the usually calm and composed Rogers explode. “The referee missed a touch ball. It was a bad call, but it did not make a difference for the game. But we were playing a little bit flat, so I wanted to start a fire.” Unfortunately it did not work, the Brazilians went even further ahead, finishing the game at 21-14. It was only the second time Alison and Emanuel had beaten the American team in a total of 10 encounters. Emanuel, who has won 70 gold medals in his career, said: “It was our best match so far in our second year together. But we need to learn more from them to keep the beach volleyball level as high as possible.”

Emanuel, two times world champion and olympic champion of 2004, now is the only player winning a medal in all three editions of the Prague Open. In 2008 he finished third with Ricardo, second last year with Alison and now gold. “I will be back for sure next year,” the 38-year-old veteran told the crowd. “Today was an amazing party. The spectators gave us a lot of energy. Thank you for that.” Among the Prague Open 5,400 spectators was the president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus.

Earlier on Sunday Swiss qualifiers Sascha Heyer and Sebastian Chevallier took the bronze medal, beating Brazil’s 12th seeded Cunha/Pedro for the second time in the tournament 2-1 (21-18 18-21 17-15). For the Swiss team is was only their second FIVB Swatch World Tour event together. Heyer (38) was playing his ninth final four, but for former indoor setter Chevallier (23) it was his first, having only played six Swatch World Tour events previously.

The Swiss team earned 480 points and $15,000. Rogers and Dalhausser will share $21,000 while winners Alison and Emanuel split $30,000.

The Prague Open was the first of two men’s only tournaments of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour 2011, the second will be in Agadir, Morocco, in October.

In two weeks the Swatch World Tour will continue in China with the $600,000 Beijing Open, the first Grand Slam of the season. After that the FIVB Swatch World Tour will return to Europe for the World Championships in Rome June 13-19.
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