B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 6, 2008) – For the second time in two days on Sunday, the United States and China squared off in the final of the US$600,000 Moscow 2008 Grand Slam beach volleyball tournament.
While China won the gold medal in Saturday’s women’s final, the U.S. men’s team of Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) evened the score by capturing their third-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour men’s title.
With a 16-21, 21-19, 15-11 win in 60 minutes over fourth-seeded Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu of China, top-seeded Dalhausser and Rogers avenged Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs’ (El Toro, Calif.) loss to Chen Xue and Xi Zhang on Saturday.
“The Chinese played very well, especially in the first set,” said Rogers, who has teamed with Dalhausser to lead the qualifying list for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with 5,780 points for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since May 2007. Reigning Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil are second with 5,500 qualifying points for Beijing.
“I made several errors in the first set and the Chinese’s service game was very good,” Rogers added. “The second set was close throughout, and we played our best in the third and deciding set. Tiny (Xu) and Peng (Wu) are a real force and we have been fortunate to beat them five times.”
With three-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam titles to their credit by also winning in Paris and Norway, Dalhausser and Rogers have won 21-straight matches since losing in three sets to Emanuel and Ricardo June 15 in the Berlin Grand Slam gold medal match. The SWATCH mark for consecutive match wins is 23 set in 1999 by Emanuel and his Sydney 2000 Olympic partner Jose Loiola.
Sunday’s win netted the Americans the $43,500 first-place check as Dalhausser and Rogers have reached the podium in nine of their last 10 SWATCH FIVB World Tour starts with four gold medals, including the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championship last July in Gstaad, Switzerland. For the 2008 season, the U.S. team has won 39 of 43 international matches with $188,000 in winnings. Dalhausser was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the Moscow 2008 Grand Slam.
Despite the setback, Wu and Xu moved into the No. 6 Olympic ranking spot with 4,540 points.
If Wu and Xu finish among the top six Beijing qualifying teams, the host country tandem will be granted the top spot in Olympic pool play seeding.
The qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympics ends for all SWATCH FIVB World Tour players in France July 15-20 at Marseille. European players can also earn qualifying points from one of their two finishes at the 2007 or 2008 continental championships. Germany hosts this year’s European championships this coming week in Hamburg (July 10-13).
In the All-German bronze medal match featuring the European countries Beijing entrants, fifth-seeded David Klemperer and Eric Koreng scored their third-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour victory over compatriots Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann with a 21-18 and 21-15 victory in 47 minutes.
With the Germans in the semifinals Sunday afternoon, Dalhausser and Rogers advanced to the finals with a 21-14, 18-21, 15-11 win in 57 minutes over Brink and Dieckmann. Wu and Xu earned a berth in the finale with a 21-19, 25-27, 15-13 win over Klemperer and Koreng.
Complete results, photos and more information are available on the FIVB beach Web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.