Americans Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross are making a surprise appearance in the women’s championship match of the FIVB Moscow on Sunday. On the men’s the USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are also in the final.
The 11th-seeded Sweat and Ross continued to feast on German opponents on a very chilly Saturday, as they knocked out Karla Borger and Margareta Kozuch in the third round and then Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider in the semifinals.
They will play top-seeded Brazilians Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca in the final of the three-star FIVB event.
In the women’s bronze, No. 4 Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Duda of Brazil will face No. 19 Bieneck and Schneider
Fourth-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena will play No. 8 Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin after a 41-degree day that fed into the Russians’ home-court advantage.
No. 15-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin will play for bronze against Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Alexsandrs Samoilovs, the top seed.
As host country, Russia was allowed five entries in the men’s competition. Krasilnikov and Liamin scored key wins over No. 24 Maciej Rudol and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland (21-18, 21-15) and No. 1 Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia (21-14, 21-17) to reach Sunday’s gold-medal final.
Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin upset No. 7 Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands (15-21, 21-15, 15-7) and No. 10 Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira of Spain (21-16, 21-18) to advance to the medal rounds before Lucena andl Dalhausser dropped them into the bronze-medal match (21-14, 21-17) before a relatively empty stadium.
In the first FIVB event of the year, Lucena and Dalhausser finished third. They skipped FIVB Rio to win AVP Austin.
The Brazilian women continued their international dominance as Antunes and Franca and Bednarczuk and Lisboa clashed in the semifinals, with the top seeds coming out on top 23-21, 18-21, 15-10. In the second semifinal, Ross and Sweat battled Bieneck and Schneider in a taut 21-15, 19-21, 17-15 affair.
The victory was the Americans’ second three-set win of the day after edging a second German team, No. 20 Borger and Kozuch, 14-21, 21-19, 15-12.
Sweat and Ross have cemented their position as the spoilers of 2017, after their fourth-place finish in Fort Lauderdale.