Saturday was a busy day for teams scheduled to start competing in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals at the end of September on the specialty-constructed Beach Volleyball courts at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.With 10 men’s and 10 women’s entered in the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals where play begins September 29 and concludes October 4, six of the 20 Fort Lauderdale pairs were playing Saturday in events in Russia, Germany and southern California.With the FIVB World Tour staging a $150,000 event in Sochi, Russia, SWATCH participants Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States advanced to the finals with a pair of wins Saturday, including a 2-1 (13-21, 21-16, 15-8) victory over the host country pair of Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov in 45 minutes..In winning their sixth match of the Sochi Open, Dalhausser and Lucena advanced to the finals Sunday where the Americans challenge Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia, the top team on the men’s FIVB World Tour the past two seasons and winners of last week’s Rio 2016 Olympic “test” event on Copacabana beach.Sunday’s match will mark the second gold medal match for Dalhausser and Lucena since the pair formed their partnership last month after starting the season with Sean Rosenthal and Theo Brunner, respectively. In their first FIVB World Tour event in mid-August in southern California, Dalhausser and Lucena dropped the Long Beach gold medal match to reigning world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in three sets.Enroute to their silver medal finish in Long Beach, Dalhausser and Lucena eliminated Samoilovs and Smedins with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-11, 15-12) win in 54 minutes. In three FIVB World Tour events this season, Dalhausser and Lucena have compiled a 17-5 record with a 3-4 mark against teams competing in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.In the German championships in Timmendorfer Strand, SWATCH participants Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst and Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude advanced to the “final four”. Ludwig and Walkenhorst captured the gold medal while Laboureur and Sude placed fourth. The two teams met in the semi-finals with Ludwig and Walkenhorst winning 2-1 (21:19, 12:21, 15:9) in 48 minutes.In the final 2015 AVP event on the American domestic scene, SWATCH FIVB World Finals participants Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, Lauren Fendrick/April Ross and Emily Day/Jen Kessy advanced to the semi-finals in southern California at Huntington Beach.Gibb and Patterson, who captured the gold medal at the FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stop in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla., won all three of their winner’s bracket matches to advance to a Sunday morning meeting in Huntington Beach against rivals Tri Bourne and John Hyden. The two teams have met 18 times on both the domestic and international tours with Gibb and Patterson leading 13-5.In the AVP Huntington women’s semi-finals Fendrick and Ross will meet Brittany Hochevar and Misty May-Treanor while Day and Kessy face Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kopp. Fendrick and Ross are playing together for the first-time as both of their regular partners are sidelined with shoulder injuries. Fendrick and Brooke Sweat entered this week’s action as 13th-ranked pair on the FIVB World Tour with Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings listed No. 18. Day and Kessy were the 19th-ranked on the international circuit at the start of this week’s schedule.Following this week’s action, the FIVB World Tour takes a weekend off before staging an “open” event September 22-27 in Xiamen, China. SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula of Italy, Dalhausser/Lucena, Laboureur/Sude and Day/Kessy have already earned berths in the Main Draw for the $150,000 event.