Stare Jablonki, Poland, July7, 2013 – Unheralded pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen became the first Dutch team to win a World Championships medal when they beat Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Filho to claim gold in the final of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013 on Sunday.
The Dutch players had already gone further than they had ever done before in a senior tournament, and then capped their remarkable run with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) victory.
“It is the best feeling ever,” Brouwer said. “I still can’t believe it; I’m shaking and that last point didn’t go as I would have liked it, but if you score it anyway, it is a great feeling.
“It really is amazing to play our hero Ricardo, who is a great player. What a great feeling, it is a dream come true.”
Brouwer and Meeuwsen started strongly and didn’t let their illustrious opponents settle. In the second set both teams took points off one another until a well-timed timeout allowed the Dutch pair to refocus and from then on they were fully in control. They had their first match point at 20-14 and while the Brazilians saved two, they were unable to stop the third.
Before arriving at Mazury 2013 their best result had been a ninth place finish at this year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam tournaments in Shanghai, Corrientes, The Hague and Rome, but they shrugged off any nerves in a mature performance that belied their inexperience.
“I just can’t figure this out, unbelievable,” Meeuwsen said. “It is going to take a few weeks before it sinks in. I never believed, not until we scored the last point of the final.”
Despite the loss Ricardo has now become the most decorated player in World Championships history with one gold medal, two silvers and a bronze. For Alvaro it is another World Championships silver medal, to go with the two he won at U21 level, in his first season playing with 38-year-old Ricardo.
It is their second medal of the season after they won bronze at the Shanghai Grand Slam, though the pair were disappointed that they couldn’t succeed compatriots Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti as world champions, but are confident they have bright future as a team.
“We came back after we lost in the pool,” Alvaro said. “I’m very happy, it’s my first season with Ricardo and sometimes he talks too much, but I am learning and it has been amazing.”
Germans bounce back to claim bronze
Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik earned the biggest prize of their careers by defeating 2011 world champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego to win the bronze with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) victory.
The Germans started strongly and didn’t let the Brazilians settle in the first set. In the second the lead swung back and forth, but eventually Erdmann and Matysik opened a lead and while Alison and Emanuel tried to peg them back they were too far in front and won with a Matysik spike.
“When the last ball went to Kay, I knew we’d won,” Erdmann said. “It is the first medal for us and it is at a World Championships. We played them before in the past and had some good games against them, so I knew we could win.”
The loss caps a disappointing end to Alison and Emanuel’s time as world champions. After they lost to compatriots Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Filho in the semifinals they were appeared fatigued when they returned to play Erdmann and Matysik.
“I did my best on the court to give the audience a good show, but I couldn’t,” Emanuel said.
“It is an Olympic hangover; our bodies don’t feel the same as they did last year especially because we didn’t train for seven weeks and we came here with a lot of pressure, so it is amazing how we played
“We need to stick together as a team and we’ll go to Gstaad and Long Beach (Grand Slams) next.”