Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2017 - It will be a “new” Russia team of Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin challenging the “experienced” American pair Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena for the gold medal at this week’s US$150,000 FIVB World Tour event in the Russian capital after both tandems won a pair of matches here Saturday.
Playing in only their fifth international event together with a combined 64 FIVB starts, the eighth-seeded Krasilnikov and Liamin advanced to their second gold medal match this season with back-to-back wins Saturday over 24th-seeded Maciej Rudol/Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) in 35 minutes and top-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) in 33 minutes.
With the Moscow event being Dalhausser and Lucena’s 22nd FIVB start together with a combined 193 World Tour events, the Americans eliminated 14th-seeded Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland 2-0 (21-19, 18-21, 15-9) in 50 minutes and 15th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) in 31 minutes.
Phil Dalhausser (left) and Nick Lucena of the United States
“I think it was experience that made the difference in this match,” said Dalhausser about playing the 20-year old Stoyanovskiy and 21-year old Yarzutkin. “Those guys are twenty years old and they are really good for twenty. They are about fifty times better than I was at twenty. So, I expect a bright future of them."
As for the young Russians comeback in the second set, Dalhausser said “the big guy (Stoyanovskiy) had a couple of good serves, and then Nick missed one just by a quarter of an inch. That kind of changed the momentum. But we could get a couple back in the end, which was the difference.”
As for playing another Russian team in the finale, the 37-year old Dalhausser hoped “it is not as cold, cause my feet are so frozen. Maybe just a couple of degrees warmer. That's all I am asking for.”
Sunday’s meeting will be the third-time Russia and the United States have played for a men’s FIVB World Tour gold medal with the first being at the 2007 FIVB World Championships in Switzerland and the last at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam in Austria prior to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky played in both finales against the Americans as Dalhausser and Todd Rogers defeated the Russians for the 2007 world championship gold medal. The following year, Barsouk and Kolodinsky got revenge in Austria with a victory over Mark Willians and Stein Metzger.
With the FIVB Russian capital event also featuring women’s play, Saturday’s schedule concluded with the semi-final matches to set the lineup for Sunday's medal matches. The winning duos in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes. The women’s finale will pit top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil against Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat of the United States.
Following the Moscow stop, the FIVB World Tour takes a week off before resuming play June 15-18 for a “three-star” $150,000 event in The Netherlands at The Hague. Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Vienna, Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany. Overall, there are 15 men’s and 19 women’s events on the $5.335-million FIVB World Tour schedule.