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In a match featuring two teams that claimed 2016 Beach Volleyball titles on Rio’s famed Copacabana, Alison and Bruno defeated the Polish pair for the eighth-straight time on the FIVB World Tour with a 2-0 (25-23, 21-12) gold medal win in 40 minutes to claim the $20,000 first-place prize.
Bartosz Losiak (right) of Poland hits against Alison Cerutti of Brazil
“The Polish are a tough team to play,” said the 30-year old Bruno. “It has been a good week for us after starting the season slowly in the United States. We started getting our act together once we returned to the Brazilian tour and played our best this week against the world’s elite teams.”
While Alison and Bruno were appearing in their 16th FIVB World Tour finale and winning their 12th international gold medal, Kantor and Losiak split $16,000 for placing second as the two 25-year olds were playing four title match and second this season.
Five months before Alison and Bruno’s gold medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in mid-August on Copacabana, Kantor and Losiak captured their first-ever FIVB World Tour title by defeating Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg for the 2016 Rio Grand Slam championship.
Alison and Bruno, who are also the reigning FIVB world champions after winning the title in 2015 in The Netherlands, opened the 2017 international season by placing fifth at a mid-February SWATCH Major Series stop in the United States at Fort Lauderdale where they dropped two matches to American pairs.
This week, Alison and Bruno were “perfect” with a 6-0 match mark and posted a pair of victories over American duos, including Theo Brunner and Casey Patterson in Saturday’s Rio Open semi-finals. In Fort Lauderdale, Brunner and Patterson defeated Alison and Bruno in pool play.
On the Brazilian tour this season, Alison and Bruno captured domestic stops at Uberlândia, São José and the Super Praia at Niteroi. Alison and Bruno had six podiums with two seconds and a third.
In the bronze medal match where the winning team split the $10,000 third-place prize, ninth-seeded Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy out-lasted 13th-seeded Brunner and Patterson 2-1 (21-15, 24-26, 15-11) in 46 minutes. The Americans shared $8,000 for finishing fourth.
American Casey Patterson (right) hits against Paolo Nicolai (center) as Italian partner Daniele Lupo follows the action at the Rio Open net Sunday.
Combined with Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa’s 2-1 (21-14, 13-21 and 15-13) women’s gold medal win in 50 minutes over Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada, Brazil captured both gender’s top podium spots at the same event for the 58th-time since the start of FIVB combined tournaments in 1992.
The combined women's and men's Rio Open podium
The next stop on the FIVB World Tour will be May 31-June 4 in Moscow for a three-star event in the Russian capital. 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 Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.