The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event in Itapema is set to end on Sunday with a Brazilian team topping the men’s podium for the first time at the international level after the home duos of Vitor Felipe/Renato Andrew and Andre Loyola/George Wanderley advanced to the gold medal match on Saturday.
As with the women’s tournament, two teams from the host country will meet in the final, something that had last happened in July 2019, when Andre and George lost to Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho in Espinho, Portugal. Italians Daniele Lupo and Alex Ranghieri and Austrians Alexander Huber and Christoph Dressler will play for bronze at the Meia Praia Beach.
The 2021 Brazilian Tour leaders, Vitor and Renato remain in top form in their third international event together. On Saturday, the two, who won an event of their national tour in the same venue last weekend, took down a couple of strong European teams, dominating Young Swedish David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig to a straight-set (21-17, 21-18) victory in the quarterfinals and repeating the two-set (21-19, 21-19) win against Italian Olympians Lupo and Ranghieri in the semifinals.
“I’m really happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” the 21-year-old Renato, a three-time age group world champion, reflected. “We worked really hard this year and it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to perform well in all these tournaments we’ve been playing in this final part of the year. We received a wildcard for this tournament and we saw it as a great opportunity and we wanted to make it count. I’m very excited about my first final in the World Tour and wanted to thank the organizers and the fans for this amazing event.”
Andre and George, who won the Brazilian Tour in each of the last two seasons, also had a pair of European duos on their way on Saturday and took care of both of them. In the quarterfinals, the Brazilians, who have one silver and two bronze as partners in the World Tour, needed all three sets (21-11, 15-21, 15-11) to eliminate Estonians Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar. In the semis, they prevailed over Huber and Dressler in two (21-12, 21-18).
In the final, they will meet a very familiar team as Vitor and Renato are their training partners at the popular CT Cangaço in the Brazilian city of Joao Pessoa, where both duos work under the guidance of coach Ernesto Vogado.
“It feels great to be in the final,” George said. “We didn’t play at our best in side out, but still found ways to remain competitive and win the match. The final should be really interesting as we train together every day in Joao Pessoa and play against them in practice every week. We’re really happy both teams made it to the final as we know better than anyone how hard all of us work and I bet our coaches are even happier.”
The two finalists have met in a tournament just once, at the end of October, during the semifinals of a Brazilian Tour event in Rio de Janeiro and Vitor and Renato won in straight sets on their way to take gold.
Sunday's medal matches will be streamed live on Beach Volleyball World’s YouTube channel.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Itapema
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