Swiss-born Dalhausser survives compatriot challenges

 

Swiss-born Phil Dalhausser (right) slaps five with American partner Nick Lucena during their second pool play win at the Swatch Major Gstaad

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 10, 2019 - Four-time Swatch Major Gstaad champion Phil Dalhausser has been a crowd favourite in this village since 2006 and the Swiss-born American continues to delight family and friends here Wednesday with a pair of wins with Nick Lucena.


Seeded fourth with American rivals Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb and Chase Budinger/Casey Patterson in Pool D along with 20th-seeded Latvian qualifiers Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs, Dalhausser and Lucena’s two match wins netted them the group title to earn a first-round bye when the elimination rounds start Thursday.

Dalhausser, who is appearing in his 12th Swatch Major Gstaad event, and Lucena opened play Wednesday with a 2-0 (21-10, 21-13) win in 28 minutes over the 29th-seeded qualifiers Budinger/Patterson before clinching the pool with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win in 36 minutes over Gibb/Crabb.

The win over Gibb and Crabb avenged a setback last July’s stop in Gstaad where Dalhausser and Lucena lost a three-set pool play match to their American rival. Overall, Dalhausser and Lucena have won six of 11 matches with Gibb and Crabb, who have defeated their compatriots twice on the FIVB World Tour in three meetings.

In addition, Dalhausser and Lucena avenged a setback in May to Budinger and Patterson at an American domestic event in southern California.  Dalhausser and Lucena entered the Swatch Major Gstaad after placing fifth in the 2019 FIVB World Championships.

Dalhausser initially won a Gstaad gold medal in 2007 with Todd Rogers at the FIVB World Championships and again reached the podium together in 2010. Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal shared the top spot on the podium in 2014 and with Lucena in 2017.

With the women concluding pool play Thursday, the men’s competition continues through Saturday where the winning team splits the US$40,000 first-place prize. The women’s final four matches will be played Sunday to end the 20th anniversary celebration for the Swatch Major Gstaad that started in June 2000 as a women’s only event.