Moscow, Russia, May 31, 2015 - It has been a long-time coming and after 62 events and 332 matches on the FIVB World Tour, Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira have “finally” captured a gold medal on the international circuit by posting a hard-fought two-set victory here Sunday in the US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam over a new team - Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Salgado of Brazil.
In a 43-minute finale on the center court before a jam-packed crowd at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Center, the 12th-seeded Herrera and Gavira posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) win over the 10th-seeded Brazilians to secure the 800 first-place points in the first “big” event during the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Herrera and Gavira also collected the $57,000 for first-place prize in netting their first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal after finishing second four times since forming their partnership in 2009. The international crown was also the third for Herrera, who topped the podium with Javier Bosma in 2004 (Lianyungang, China) and Raul Mesa in 2008 (Kristiansand, Norway).
While Herrera and Gavira have six-plus seasons of playing experience together with a 219-113 match record, 11 podium placements and 16 “final four” finishes in 62 FIVB starts, Evandro and Pedro were competing in their first-ever international event together.
Herrera and Gavira advanced to the finals by posting two wins Saturday, including a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory in 39 minutes over ninth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany. Erdmann and Matysik rebounded from the semi-final defeat to Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil to win the Moscow bronze medal.
Evandro and Pedro had to defeat two Brazilian rivals Saturday to advance to Sunday’s final, including a seed-break-through win over the second-seeded Alison and Bruno 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) win in 42 minutes. While Pedro has now collected 30 medals on the FIVB World Tour, Evandro claimed his third Sunday. Evandro is at the start of his fourth full season on the international circuit, Pedro has been a regular since 2006.
In the first of four medal matches played Sunday at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Center, Erdmann and Matysik scored a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win in 39 minutes over Alison and Bruno. The Brazilians had won the last three matches in the head-to-head competition with Erdmann and Matysik winning the first meeting last year at the China Grand Slam in Shanghai when the Germans placed third for their last FIVB World Tour medal.
With the win, the Germans shared $32,000 for finishing third while collecting 640 points. Alison and Bruno split $24,000 for the fourth-place finish along with netting 560 points for the FIVB World Tour and Olympic rankings.
After this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour’s first “Major Series” stops are set for Croatia (Poreč, June 1-7) and Norway (Stavanger, June 8-14) before international circuit crosses the Atlantic for the final world championship “tune up” in the United States for the St. Petersburg Grand Slam in Florida (June 15-21).
The FIVB ‘senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships will begin June 26 with competition be held at four sites in The Netherlands. With medal matches for both genders being held in The Hague, the women’s podium placement contests will be July 4 with the men the next day.