Hamburg, Germany, August 23, 2017 - When the seedings and group composition were announced for the men’s Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone here on Tuesday, all participants and on-lookers acknowledged that Pool A was the toughest as all three teams were among the most experienced in pairs in the competition.
Led by Spaniards Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, the three teams in Pool A have combined for 170 FIVB World Tour starts followed by Pool D (123), Pool C (86) and Pool B (29). While Gavira and Herrera are playing in their 92nd FIVB event together, Pool A mates Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria are participating in their 51st and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena in their 27th.
For the record, Dalhausser/Lucena and Doppler/Horst will compete for Pool A on Thursday after both teams posted wins Wednesday over Gavira/Herrera at the Rothenbaum Stadium where the US$800,000 event for men and women is being contested.
In the first match of the event on Wednesday, the top-seeded Dalhausser/Lucena posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-13) win in 33 minutes over ninth-seeded Gavira and Herrera. The Americans are now 3-0 against the Spaniards on the FIVB World Tour with the first two wins in 2015 and 2016 at southern California stops in the United States at Long Beach.
Doppler and Horst evened their FIVB World Tour series with Gavira and Herrera at 3-3 after the eighth-seeded Austrians posted a 2-1 (18-21, 2-17, 15-13) win in 42 minutes over the Spaniards.
When the Americans and Austrians meet at 14.00 (local time) on Thursday for the Pool A title, Dalhausser and Lucena will be looking for their fourth-straight win over Doppler and Horst. The Austrians won the first match in the series in August 2015 in Long Beach with the Americans starting their winning streak with a victory over Doppler and Horst at the 2015 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in the United States on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Earlier this season, Dalhausser and Horst defeated the Austrians at Swatch Major Series stops in the United States (Fort Lauderdale) and Switzerland (Gstaad). Both teams have posted podium placements in their last tournaments with Doppler and Horst claiming the silver medal earlier this month at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna. Dalhausser and Lucena won the American domestic stop this past Sunday in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
The third annual World Tour Finals continues through Sunday when the men’s final four matches will be played. The women’s medal matches will be contested on Saturday as the winning teams in each gender’s competition will split the $100,000 first-place prizes.