August 24, 2014 – Pedro Salgado and Alvaro Filho made a perfect start to life as a pair when they won the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam gold medal on Sunday.
The Brazilians defeated reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour champions Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12). Pedro and Alvaro started the stronger in the first set, but once Samoilovs and Smedins nudged ahead they controlled the set comfortably.
It appeared to be going the same way in the second, but Pedro and Alvaro rallied before the first technical timeout and they maintained their momentum to the finish.
“It is even more impressive because we didn’t have any time to practice together,” Pedro said. “We really wanted to play here and we really love this place, it is such a great tournament.
“Alvaro was a finalist here last year in the World Championships and I won here in 2009 and I wanted to come so badly, but we didn’t expect to finish like that. It is great to win against the Latvians, so that makes it even better.”
Pedro and Alvaro only teamed up together recently and the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam is their first World Tour event as a pair and their first gold medals of 2014.
There was an extra incentive for both players; Pedro and Bruno Schmidt were pipped to the 2013 World Title by Samoilovs and Smedins and a year ago Alvaro and Ricardo Santos won silver when the Polish venue hosted the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
“I was thinking about that yesterday,” Alvaro said. “It was like a ghost in my mind and Pedro helped me fight against this ghost.”
For Samoilovs and Smedins the silver medal represents a return to form following a season in which they haven’t quite hit the heights of 2013.
Earlier in the season they won silver at the Shanghai Grand Slam and gold at the Puerto Vallarta Open, but were unable to reach the podium for the past eight tournaments.
It is also Smedins second medal at Stare Jablonki; he and Martins Plavins won their first Grand Slam gold in 2012 a week after they had won bronze at London 2012.
“It was our second (Grand Slam) final this year and another silver, maybe later I will be happy, but for now I’m not,” Samoilovs said. “Pedro and Alvaro played great and they had an amazing sideout and we couldn’t find the key to beat them.
“They deserve this win and I don’t think we played badly; we played good, but they played great.”
Gibb and Patterson end wait for first medal of 2014
Jacob Gibb and Casey Patterson won their first medal of 2014 when they defeated Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 2-0 (23-21, 21-18) in the bronze medal match.
It capped a long week for the pair who began the tournament as number one seeds in the qualifying rounds and who lost a three-set thriller to Pedro and Alvaro in the semifinals.
“It is huge; it is a huge win for us, it is a huge bronze medal and means the world to us,” Gibb said. “We’ve been real close all year and losing close matches. It is crazy because we’ve been playing well, but to get the result now feels really good.
“Our confidence was there because we were playing well, it is just nice to get the result after all the training and we knew were playing well. If we were getting smashed and your confidence is down, that is one thing, but that isn’t where we were.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stare Jablonki Grand Slam ran from Tuesday August 19 until Sunday August 24 when the men’s medal matches took place. It was the 13th event and the ninth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features 10 Grand Slams and nine Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Sao Paolo Grand Slam which runs from September 23-28.