Yokohama, Japan, July 26, 2015 – Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt from Brazil take their third straight FIVB World Tour gold medal in a row after beating Canada’s Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) in the final of the Yokohama Grand Slam 2015. The double gender $800,000 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam marks the first time both men and women have competed together in a FIVB World Tour event in Japan.
Alison/Bruno showed why they are world champions throughout the tournament in Yokohama, but even more so in their final against Schalk/Saxton where their truly excellent beach volleyball stood them apart from the competition.
“It’s amazing, it couldn’t be better. It’s a best moment for us for sure and we are smart, we are appreciating this moment and cheering a lot. It’s so good and to have a match like this we had so much fun at this final,” said Bruno.Alison/Bruno flawless final
Schalk/Saxton had earlier beaten Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the morning’s semifinal 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) before facing Alison/Bruno in the gold medal match. The Canadians pulled out some absolutely solid play with Schalk effectively receiving those giant Alison attacks.
Schalk/Saxton were ahead at 8-6, but then a run of points thanks to sheer Bruno excellence saving and converting point after point, brought the score to 11-8 in favour of the Brazilians. Alison/Bruno pounced on the lead and there was no arguing with the incredible Bruno point that ended the set, amazing defence followed by a back of the court finish.
The second set kicked off with a great opening rally for Canada who were not rattled by the Brazilian lead. But the stand out player of the match, Bruno carried on his flawless performance in the second paired with the skill and might of Alison, the Brazilians were unstoppable. A fitting end to the match saw a massive kill from Bruno and their third straight gold medal.
“We were so focused and patient all the time. We are really tired because we’ve had a lot of tournaments in a row and especially here because in our semifinal it was so hot this morning and those guys are on fire. They have beat amazing teams until now. I just need to say thank you to my family who are watching me right now. We want to continue like this because it’s so good and Brazil deserves a lot,” said Bruno.
“It’s amazing for me, three tournaments, it’s perfect. Bruno is perfect in the game, his serving, thank you Bruno,” said Alison.
"It's been a great tournament for us. We had difficulty at first because of the time difference between Brazil and Japan but we managed to play well in the tournament. We eventually got better but we had very tough opponents here in Yokohama. We will definitely find time now to see the city and celebrate our victory," said Bruno.
The silver medal for Schalk/Saxton is the pairs only second FIVB medal after taking bronze at the Parana Open last year.
"We are pretty happy with our silver medal. The final was tough but Alison and Bruno played extremely well and we didn't play as crisp. It was an amazing tournament for us and it's a career-high finish, so we are really happy with the result," said Schalk.Doppler/Horst for bronze
Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst took the bronze medal after defeating the strong Russian team of Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov (RUS) in a straight sets match 2-0 (21-17, 21-16).
Great timing and a good read on the Russians gave Austria a five point lead in the first, but when Krasilnikov got his arm to the ball, it proved very powerful. In the second the Austrians worked hard to avoid Semenov at the net and had the lead at the technical time-out despite amazing athletic defence from Krasilnikov. As Doppler/Horst gained the lead with three points, the Russian team were unable to make up the deficit and the bronze belonged to Austria giving the pair their first FIVB medal of the season.
“It’s a really well deserved medal for us because we played really good the whole season already and we’ve been in the semifinal once in Florida already where it was also really hot and we came fourth, so it was a little bit disappointing but now it’s a perfect finish,” said Horst.
“It was about time because we’ve been playing such constant season so far. We’re a little bit surprised I have to say for our performance, but it was about time and I’m so glad that we made the semifinal and we won the bronze and now we’re going to our home European Championships,” said Doppler.
“It was just a fight, the humidity was crazy so it was even worse than in Florida a few weeks ago so I think for all the four players it was not a real game just about how to stay alive and keep playing and keep playing,” said Horst.
“It was like a chess game because almost no one was jump serving, everybody was focusing on keeping their everything actually and we were probably more lucky that we had the first game today so we had a longer break, but we’re really happy,” said Doppler.
This year’s FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam will be the third of five double-gender FIVB Grand Slams, each with a total purse of $800,000, on the FIVB World Tour 2015. Seven FIVB men’s only events were held in Japan from 1989-1995 with six being held in Enoshima and one in Yokohama in 1991. A total of 14 women’s only events were held in Osaka from 1994-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.
Japan has hosted a total of 21 FIVB World Tour events (seven men, 14 women) with the United States leading the medal count for men and Brazil dominating the medal tally for women.
Following the Yokohama Grand Slam the 2015 FIVB World Tour will have a three-week break before resuming in the United States with the double-gender FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in Southern California set for August 18-23.