Battle of world champions set for Huntington Beach men’s finale
Dutchman Alexander Brouwer (left) hits against Latvian Aleksandrs Samoilovs in the men's Huntington Beach Open semifinal Sunday
Huntington Beach, USA, May 6, 2018 – The men’s gold medal match at the $300,000 Huntington Beach Open will be a contest between the reigning world champions Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola of Brazil and the 2013 FIVB world winners Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands.
With the Dutch now playing in their 11th World Tour gold medal match in 72 FIVB starts, Evandro and Loyola will be contesting for their fourth gold medal in 11 international events together. Brouwer and Meeuwsen have five FIVB gold medals to their credit, including the 2013 world championship title in Stare Jablonki, Poland. The Brazilians' only title was the 2017 World Championship last August in Vienna.
The seventh-seeded Dutch captured the first Huntington Beach Open gold medal match berth here on Sunday morning with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-18, 15-10) semifinal win in 55 minutes over ninth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia. It was the eighth FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams with the Latvians leading the series 5-3, but Brouwer and Meeuwsen have now won the last two matches.
The second-seeded Evandro and Loyola advance to the Huntington Open gold medal match with a 2-0 (21-19, 24-22) semifinal victory in 46 minutes over 12th-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain. The FIVB series is now tied between the two teams with the Spaniards defeating Evandro and Andre last July in a pool play match in Gstaad, Switzerland.
After his match with the Latvians, Brouwer said: “We stayed calm and played our game and Robbie picked up with the serve pressure. They got into trouble and we got a stuff block and I dug a couple shots. In the end I think that made the difference in the third set.”
Meeuwsen added: “In the important moments I think we had a good plan and we stuck to it and like Alex said we got some good service pressure. We knew we wouldn’t get the points for free, so we had to keep working for it and keep the pressure up and it worked. It’s great (to reach the final) especially after the way this tournament has been played already. We haven’t played a lot of double-elimination in our lives but now to play two days of three games already and this is our eighth match going to No. 9. We always said we wanted to play AVP. The atmosphere, the crowds are amazing. If you see the pictures, every court there are always people, even in the first round. We’re really privileged to be able to play here and I hope we do it more often.”