Itapema, Brazil, May 18, 2019 – World ranking leaders Anders Mol and Christian Sorum will be back at the gold medal match of the Itapema Open as the Norwegians made their way into the final of the Brazilian FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event on Saturday.
The Vikings, who won silver last year, their first-ever World Tour medal together, after a defeat to Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola Stein, will go face-to-face with Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl in the event’s closing match on Sunday morning.
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A couple of hours earlier, Poland’s Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor and the Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst/Steven van de Velde will compete for the bronze medal at the Meia Praia.
Vikings win side out battle
To secure their spots in the Itapema final for the second-straight season, Mol and Sorum had to be almost flawless against Kantor and Losiak in the semifinals. After three intense sets, the Vikings posted a 2-1 (21-15, 19-21, 15-12) victory over the Polish.
“It was a very high-level match,” Sorum explained. “They are tough to play against and we had never beaten them before. Both teams sided out really well and I think the difference was that in the end we have a few more blocks than they did and we served really well. That was a victory to make us really happy.”
In the quarterfinals, the Norwegians needed only two sets 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) to take down American veterans Theo Brunner and Reid Priddy.
The Vikings will be looking for their fifth World Tour gold medal following triumphs in Gstaad, Vienna and at the World Tour Finals in the 2017-2018 season and in Las Vegas last October.
Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl qualified for the Itapema final
Polish hoping for a different ending
Their opponents will be Fijalek and Bryl, who are yet to drop sets at the Itapema Open. The Polish opened the Saturday with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) win over USA’s Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb in the quarterfinals and ended it with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) triumph over Varenhorst/van de Velde in the semifinals.
The Europeans are still looking for their first World Tour gold medal as a team and in each of the three times they reached the final, they were denied by Mol and Sorum – in Vienna, the World Tour Finals and Las Vegas.
The two-time Olympian Fijalek, who went through right knee surgery in the offseason, is confident the ending will be different in Itapema.
“The Dutch are a very tall team, but for us, it’s always about focusing on our game and siding out well, which we did today,” Fijalek explained. “And it will be the same in the final. We know the Norwegians are the best team in the world right now, so everybody is looking for solutions for their game. To have a chance we need to play at our best, especially on passing and setting, and that’s our goal. I hope Brazil is our place and we can finally beat them.”