Nicolai (left) and Lupo are chasing their first gold of 2018
Moscow, Russia, August 6, 2018 – Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo may begin the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow 4-Star tournament as first seeds, but they start the tournament still looking for their first gold of the 2017-18 season.
The Moscow 4-Star is the last 4-Star tournament in the 2017-18 season, and runs from August 8-12. The final tournament to take place is the Hamburg 2018 Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals that run from August 15-19.
The Italian duo won silver at the Fort Lauderdale 5-Star in March and bronze at the Gstaad 5-Star in July, but otherwise they have endured a frustrating season in which they also failed to defend their CEV European Championships title.
However, at their best they remain one of the most dangerous teams on the World Tour, as their bronze from the Hamburg 2017 FIVB World Tour Finals, and silver from the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games show.
Nicolai and Lupo lead an all-European top three seedings, and they are followed by Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira as second seeds, and the Netherlands' Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen as third.
The Spanish pair have been in strong form recently. They won gold at the Ostrava 4-Star, silver at the Gstaad 4-Star and bronze at the European Championships.
Brouwer and Meeuwsen will try to rediscover their form from earlier in 2018 when they won gold at the Doha 4-Star, and bronze at The Hague 4-Star. They have narrowly missed out on the medals in their last six tournaments, where they finished fourth twice and reached the quarterfinals four times.
The women’s field is led by Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan. The Canadians have enjoyed their first 15 months as a pair, and in that time they have won gold at the Gstaad 5-Star and Xiamen 4-Star, and also became the first women’s Commonwealth Games gold medallists when they topped the podium at Gold Coast 2018 in April.
Behind them are Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa as second seeds, and Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude as third seeds.
Agatha and Duda are chasing a third World Tour medal of 2018, following gold at the Itapema 4-Star and bronze at the Warsaw 4-Star.
Laboureur and Sude have also finished on the podium twice this year with two silvers. The first came at the Warsaw 4-Star and the second a fortnight later at the Gstaad 5-Star.