Top seed Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil won the top prize of $57,000 in Porec, Croatia, with a dramatic 21-13, 16-21, 15-12 win over No. 15 Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria. The semifinals and medal matches all went a very competitive three sets.
In the first semifinal, No. 15 Doppler/Horst defeated No. 6 Chaim Schalk/Saxton 17-21, 21-17, 19-17. Then No. 1 Cerutti/Oscar Schmidt defeated No. 5 Alexandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia, 18-21, 21-17, 15-11. The Brazilian win avenged last week’s final loss to the Latvians.
Schalk/Saxton edged Samoilovs/Smedins by the slimmest of margins to win bronze 19-21, 30-28, 20-18.
The win is the Brazilians’ second this year.
“It is about time,” said Bruno, the FIVB World Tour’s top player in 2015. “We have not been playing that bad with our lowest finish being a fifth. We realize that there is a lot of pressure on us since we will be the top-seeded team in the Olympics along with being the best team on the world tour at the end of last season.”
Doppler/Horst had somewhat of a Cinderella finish. All seven of their matches in Porec went three sets. The Austrian duo had placed 17th in their last four events (Sochi, Moscow, Hamburg, Olsztyn), and this was only their third medal in their last 40 events.
“We are very pleased with our finish,” Doppler said. “What was pleasing was coming back in the second set against the Brazilians after being dominated by them in the first set. We had our opportunity to win the match, but we made errors when they were making the plays. Overall, what a great feeling to win a silver medal here in Croatia with so many Austrian fans in attendance.”
The next FIVB Swatch major series event begins Tuesday in Gstaad.