Warsaw, Poland, June 16, 2019 – Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior & Bruno Oscar Schmidt triumphed with the trophy at the Warsaw four-star stop on the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The 11th-seeded Brazilian pair, comprising a reigning Olympic champion and a reigning world champion, snatched their first gold and overall second medal out of the seven appearances they have made on the World Tour as a team.
With their win in the final, the Brazilians put a stop to the three-tournament golden streak of Anders Berntsen Mol & Christian Sandlie Sorum. This time, the second-seeded Norwegian team, number one in the World Ranking, had to settle for silver, second in their World Tour showcase, which also contains a total of seven gold medals.
Fifth-seeded Konstantin Semenov & Ilya Leshukov took the bronze to complete the podium. For the Russian duo, this is the fifth medal on the Tour. Previously, they had achieved two gold and two bronze podium finishes.
The men’s podium at Ostrava
The first set of the gold medal match provided no contest. Mol & Sorum established total domination on the court and won it by a landslide. They started well to take an early lead in the second set as well, but Evandro & Bruno Schmidt finally “woke up”. With some fantastic serving from Evandro and clever tips from Bruno, the Brazilians turned things around to win the set and tie the match. In the tie-breaker, they quickly recovered from an early setback to regain control and power through to that elegant move by Bruno, which fixed the Brazilian victory at 2-1 (11-21, 21-17, 15-12).
“This tournament was important for us, because I came here not in my best condition,” Bruno Schmidt revealed after the awarding ceremony. “I had stomach problems, I had to take IV therapy to recover, I called for medical time-outs in three matches, but it was important that I received support from Evandro in the hard moments, especially mentally. It was not easy, so to have a finish like that at such a high-level tournament is very satisfying. I also noticed that the Norwegians were also very tired after reaching the finals in so many tournaments, but we knew it was going to be a tough battle. Evandro and I tried to push each other as much as possible. He was a monster in this tournament and I give him all the credit. He serves with power from the beginning to the end, and especially in this final, in the second set. I was so close to giving up, but Evandro pushed me hard to keep going.”
“We had a really good first set,” Anders Mol commented. “We had a really good plan. I got to block Bruno a couple of times and felt like I stopped his rhythm a little bit, but then they changed something in the second set. Evandro served like crazy. Bruno also served really well. They did the same in the tiebreak. I think they played a really good game and I’m happy for Brazil for finally having a team back in the number one spot. It’s really important for the sport.”
“We are super satisfied. Right now, we are not so happy, but tomorrow we have to be happy. Silver is good,” Christian Sorum added.
Semenov & Leshukov could not hold on to the wide gap they opened in the first set of the all-Russian bronze medal match against third-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov & Oleg Stoyanovskiy. The opponents caught up at 17-17 to prompt an interesting epilogue, but Leshukov’s elegant tip over the block closed it off on first set point. Krasilnikov & Stoyanovskiy were well in control of the second set to draw level. Semenov & Leshukov dominated the tie-breaker, but wasted a triple match point to allow the opponents to catch up. However, they capitalized on a long spike by Krasilnikov to convert their next match point to a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 16-14) win.
“This is a good second start for us after a long period of not playing,” Konstantin Semenov said. “To take the third place in our second tournament after the break is good for us. In our first game today we weren’t ready for Evandro’s serving, but we really wanted to win the bronze medal match, a principle game between Russia and Russia. It was very difficult for us. The guys played very well, so we are happy to have won that third set. We hope to achieve the same result or even better at the World Championship.”
In an epic semifinal between Mol & Sorum and Krasilnikov & Stoyanovskiy, the fans at centre court enjoyed over an hour of nip-and-tuck beach volleyball. The Norwegians emerged with the upper hand in a nail-biting first set. In the second, the Russians not only recovered from an early 5-1 deficit, but managed to stay more concentrated in the money time to draw the score level. The battle continued in the third set. At 14-11 Krasilnikov & Stoyanovskiy looked well within reach of the gold medal match, but the match was not even close to its ending. Mol & Sorum denied the triple match point. The Russians could not take advantage of six more opportunities to serve for the match and eventually it was Norway that triumphed with a 2-1 (25-23, 19-21, 23-21) victory and a spot in the final.
Evandro & Bruno Schmidt were unstoppable in a very one-sided first set of their semifinal against Semenov & Leshukov and won it by a landslide margin. The Russians’ attempt at a comeback in the second set only produced occasional one-point leads in the score, but the experience of the Brazilian players proved key to their success – 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) with Bruno putting the ball away for the winning point.