The Hague, The Netherlands, June 17, 2017 - Can there be “something magical” with Russia for Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera as the Spaniards won three matches here Saturday at the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open to gain a berth in the finals of this week’s FIVB World Tour event.
Gavira and Herrera have captured two gold medals on the FIVB World Tour in their previous 86 starts on the international Beach Volleyball circuit and there has been a Russia tie to each appearance at events in 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The first “Russian tie” was in Moscow on May 31, 2015 when Gavira and Herrera captured their first-ever FIVB World Tour title together as the Spaniards bested Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg for the gold medal. Over 10 months later in China, Gavira and Herrera defeated Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov of Russia in the Xiamen semi-finals enroute to winning their second international crown.
Seeded sixth in Dela Beach Open, Gavira and Herrera must now defeat the Russian pair of Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin to win their third FIVB World Tour gold medal as each finalist spent a “tiresome” day Saturday by playing three matches during morning, afternoon and evening sessions. It will be the second meeting this season between the two teams with Gavira and Herrera winning a pool play match last month in Brazil at the Rio Open.
After posting elimination wins over pairs from Brazil and Canada, Gavira and Herrera advanced to their seventh FIVB gold medal match by defeating 11th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) in a 38-minute semi-final match on the center court at the newly-constructed Sportcampus Zuiderpark. It was the Spaniards’ second win this weekend over Lupo and Nicolai to even the FIVB World Tour series between the two teams at 5-5.
“It has been a long day,” said the 29-year old Gavira. “We are really, really tired. We want to rest, we will see tomorrow, but now all we can think of is rest. This is our first final of the season and we hope the first gold medal of the season too.”
A four-time Olympian with a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Summer Games with Javier Bosma, Herrera said “we are very, very happy, especially defeating Nicolai and Lupo twice this week. Both were tough and hard matches. But we did it. And we will see everyone tomorrow.”
The seventh-seeded Krasilnikov and Liamin opened with wins Saturday over pairs from Austria and The Netherlands as the Russians ousted local favorites and top-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) in a 32-minute quarter-final match.
To gain a spot in their third FIVB World Tour gold medal match this season in six events, Krasilnikov and Liamin scored a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) semi-final victory in 40 minutes over 20th-seeded Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger of Switzerland. The Russians are now 2-0 against Beeler and Krattiger as Krasilnikov and Liamin defeated the Swiss pair during their gold medal run in mid-February on Kish Island in Iran.
Following The Hague stop, the seventh double gender stop on the 2017 FIVB World Tour calendar, the international circuit takes a week off before resuming play with SWATCH Major Series stops in Croatia (Porec, June 27-July 2) and Switzerland (Gstaad, July 4-9).
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.