Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 28, 2018 - After winning their opening matches in modified pool play here Wednesday at the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major, Olympic medal winners and past FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil and Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands will meet on Thursday for the first time since facing each other in the beach volleyball semifinals at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.
While sixth-seeded Alison and Bruno were posting a 2-1 (21-18, 16-21, 15-10) win in 46 minutes over 27th-seeded qualifiers Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger of Switzerland, the 11th-seeded Brouwer and Meeuwsen scored a 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) victory in 27 minutes over 22nd-seeded Maxim Sivolap/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia.
Thursday’s meeting will be the first confrontation between the two teams since the semifinals at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where Alison and Bruno eventually won the gold medal after defeating Brouwer and Meeuwsen 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 16-14) in a 56-minute match on August 16.
Overall, Alison and Bruno lead the FIVB World Tour series with the Dutch 6-2. In addition to their Olympic medals in Rio where Brouwer and Meeuwsen captured the third spot on the Copacabana podium, Thursday’s contestants have netted World Championship titles with the Dutch first in 2013 in Poland and Alison and Bruno the victors in 2015 at the Netherlands.
Winners of the 2015 FIVB World Tour Finals in October at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, Alison and Bruno are seeking their 13th FIVB World Tour title (39 career events) and first since topping the podium last May in the Olympic Tennis Center in Rio. Brouwer and Meeuwsen have three FIVB World Tour gold medals (68 events) to their credit with their last title being in April in Xiamen, China.
With the men playing only one round of modified pool play matches on Wednesday, other top-ranked teams posting wins Wednesday were second-seeded Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola of Brazil, third-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland, fourth-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia, seventh-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria, and eighth-seeded Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia.
Top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States and fifth-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy played the final two matches on Wednesday evening under the lights on the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park centre court and scored wins over pairs from Norway and the United States, respectively, to end the third of seven days of competition at the Fort Lauderdale Major.
Lupo and Nicolai shared the Rio Olympic podium with the Brazilians and Dutch as the Italians lost the gold medal match to Alison and Bruno. Dalhausser and Lucena ended the 2017 international season by winning the FIVB World Tour Finals in Germany by defeating 2017 world champions Evandro and Loyola in the Hamburg finals.
The men’s competition at the Fort Lauderdale Major concludes Sunday with the medal matches on the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park centre court. The women’s semifinals and podium placement matches will be played on Saturday. The winning teams will share the $40,000 first-place prizes.
Rio Olympic medal winners (left to right): Nicolai, Lupo, Alison, Bruno, Brouwer and Meeuwsen are competing for more FIVB World Tour medals in Fort Lauderdale.