FORT LAUDERDALE MAJOR
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Feb. 26-March 4
Top seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, both Florida natives, have a shot to start 2018 with a gold medal, earning their way to the Fort Lauderdale Major finals with a pair of straight set victories on Saturday.
Dalhausser/Lucena, which earned bronze at the Fort Lauderdale Major in 2017, bested 12th-seeded Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins in the semifinals. The American duo earned four golds in 2017, including the World Tour Finals in Hamburg in August. The pair also took the top spot at the Moscow Three Star, Gstaad Major and Long Beach Presidents Cup.
Italians Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo, which was fifth at the Fort Lauderdale Major last February, will meet the Americans in the championship match. The No. 5 pair, which finished on the podium at five FIVB events in 2017, including a silver at the Porec Major in July and the Xiamen Three-Star in April, topped Brazilians Pedro Solberg/George Wanderley in the semifinals.
The championship match is set for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, while the bronze medal match will be played at 11 a.m. ET.
This is just the second FIVB tournament for the ninth-seeded Brazilians, following a ninth-place finish at the Hague Four-Star in January.
Samoilovs/Smedins’ last podium finish came in a third-place effort at the Long Beach Grand Slam in August 2016. The pair’s last gold medal was at the Klagenfurt Major in July 2016.
In Saturday’s quarterfinals, Dalhausser/Lucena cruised to the semifinals with a straight set win over No. 11 seed Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (Netherlands).
The other three quarterfinal matches went the distance with Nicolai/Lupo squeaking out the match after three deuce sets against No. 13 Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira.
Smedins/Samoilovs and Pedro Solberg/George rallied after dropping the opening set of their matches.
Americans John Hyden/Theo Brunner were knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Brazilians, despite winning Set 1 23-21.
Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo (Italy) def. Pedro Solberg Salgado/George Wanderley (Brazil) 24-22, 25-23
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (USA) def. Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins (Latvia) 21-14, 21-12
Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins (Latvia) def. Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor (Poland) 12-21, 21-13, 15-10
Paolo Nicolai /Daniele Lupo (Italy) def. Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira (Spain) 24-22, 19-21, 17-15
Pedro Solberg Salgado/George Wanderley (Brazil) def. John Hyden/Theo Brunner (USA) 21-23, 21-11, 15-13
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena (USA) def. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meewsen (Netherlands) 22-20, 21-16