Moscow, Russia, June 4, 2017 - Sunday could be the second gold medal this season for teams from Brazil and Russia or the first title in 2017 for pairs from the United States as the US$150,000 FIVB World Tour stop in the Russian capital concludes with the men’s and women’s podium placing matches.
Following the bronze medal matches pitting Latvia and Russia in the men’s and Germany versus Brazil in the women’s third-place contests, the finales in the sixth double gender stop on the 2017 international calendar will feature Rio 2016 Olympic pairs Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil and Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States.
Like Talita and Larissa, Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin will be seeking their second FIVB gold medal this season. The Brazilians captured the season-opening World Tour women event in the United States at the start of February and Krasilnikov and Liamin followed Talita and Larissa’s Fort Lauderdale Major performance six days later by topping the podium in Iran on Kish Island.
Talita and Larissa will be playing Brooke Sweet and Summer Ross for the second-time this season as the Americans will be seeking their first medal of their newly-formed partnership after placing fourth in Fort Lauderdale in their first start together. At the SWATCH Major Series stop in south Florida, “Summer Sweat” dropped a 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) semi-final match to Talita and Larissa.
Sunday’s finale will also mark the 95th-time that Brazilian and American pairs have competed in a women’s FIVB World Tour gold medal match since 1992 with USA leading 53-41. The 2016 Moscow finale was one of those title meetings between the two countries with Americans April Ross (no relation to Summer) and Kerri Walsh Jennings defeating Talita and Larissa in the finale.
While Dalhausser and Lucena are playing only their second event this season after placing third in Fort Lauderdale, Krasilnikov and Liamin are finishing their fifth tournament of the 2017 campaign starting with a ninth in Florida followed by a first in Iran, a ninth in China and a 17th two weeks ago in Rio de Janeiro.
As the two most-experience teams in the gold medal matches, Talita and Larissa will be looking for their 15th FIVB title in 30 World Tour events together. The Moscow stop is Dalhausser and Lucena’s 22nd FIVB event and the Americans have topped the podium five times with the last being over 11 months ago in Hamburg, Germany at a SWATCH Major Series stop.
The winning duos in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes. Following the Moscow stop, the FIVB World Tour takes a week off before resuming play June 15-18 for a “three-star” $150,000 event in The Netherlands at The Hague.
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.