Porec, Croatia, July 2, 2017 - Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg became the second men’s team in the 30-season history of the FIVB World Tour to win an international beach volleyball event after starting the competition in the country quota rounds as the Brazilians defeated Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy in a three-set gold medal at the $600,000 Porec Major before an over-flowing crowd in the Red Bull Beach Arena.
Seeded ninth in the Swatch Major Series Main Draw after winning country quota and qualifying matches on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, Guto and Solberg netted seven more victories highlighted by a 2-1 (18-21, 25-23 and 15-9) gold medal triumph in 55 minutes over 12th-seeded Lupo/ and Nicolai.
With their second win this season over the Italian silver medal winners at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Guto and Solberg shared the $40,000 first-place prize while Lupo and Nicolai left the Croatian seaside resort with a $32,000 check.
With Vienna hosting the 2017 FIVB World Championships starting July 28 in the Austrian capital, Guto and Solberg will be hoping to use the Porec title as a springboard to the golden trophy.
“That would be great,” said the 31-year old Solberg, “but I am more concerned about getting to Switzerland tomorrow to play in another country quota match to advance to Tuesday’s qualifier in Gstaad.”
Over 4,000 fans watched the men's finale between Brazil and Italy Sunday at the Porec Major.
After Guto and Solberg advanced to the Porec Major finale with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) semifinal win in 34 minutes over 15th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia, Lupo and Nicolai posted their second win this week over reigning Olympic and world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-11) win in 49 minutes.
On Friday, Lupo and Nicolai avenged their two-set loss to Alison and Bruno in the gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic by defeating the Brazilians 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) in a 37-minute Pool E match.