2019-07-21 20:54:00 CET

The weekend recap

Brazil and Russia secure Espinho golds in Espinho while World Champs win gold at home

Álvaro and Alison pose with their gold medals after the all-Brazilian final in EspinhoÁlvaro and Alison pose with their gold medals after the all-Brazilian final in Espinho

After months of struggles following a series of never-ending partnership changes, Brazil’s men’s beach volleyball teams seem to be finding their ways back among the elite as the A1 Vienna Major approaches as the country won both the gold and the silver medals of the four-star World Tour event in Espinho this weekend with Alison Cerutti/Álvaro Filho beat André Loyola/George Wanderley in the final.

Reigning Olympic champion Alison and 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major winner Álvaro paid back a pool play setback to André and George with a 21-13, 15-21, 15-9 victory to top the podium in the Portuguese coastal city and secure their second gold medal as a team following a victory in a three-star tournament in Kuala Lumpur in May.

“We are very happy with this gold medal because we only started playing together three months ago,” Alison said. “We had a win in a three-star tournament and now in a four-star, which is very good. We are evolving very fast and showing a lot of happiness on the court.”

Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs secured the bronze in the deep Portuguese sand with a dramatic 21-13, 21-18 victory over Chilean cousins Marco and Esteban Grimalt after Plavins played through a twisted left ankle during the final part of the second set.

Teams from the USA, Russia and Brazil stepped on the podium in the women's tournamentTeams from the USA, Russia and Brazil stepped on the podium in the women's tournament

Among the women, Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina topped the podium in a four-star tournament for the first together as the Russians downed young Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil 21-17, 21-16 in the gold medal match.

“We are so happy with this first place,” Makroguzova remarked. “This is the result of long hours of hard work by our national team coaches, managers, federation and, of course, our family. I want to thank all the people who were on the stands. The fans were really cool!”

The bronze medal went to Brazilians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patrícia Ramos, who came out on top of the national duel with Ágatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa 21-18, 18-21, 15-12 to secure back-to-back third place finishes after they had the same result last week in Gstaad.

Canadians and Swiss on top in Edmonton

International beach volleyball returned to Canada for the first time since the 2016 Toronto World Tour Finals and the home fans had reasons to celebrate in Edmonton as reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes kept the gold medals on Canadian soil with a 21-11, 21-16 win over USA's Emily Day and Betsi Flint. Japan's Akiko Hasegawa/Azusa Futami won bronze.

"We were so excited to be playing here the entire week," Pavan commented. "We were so honored to be able to play a World Tour event at home as it doesn’t happen so often. And to win the first medal for a Canadian team on home soil, it’s just amazing."

The men's tournament saw the first title of Swiss team in 13 years as Marco Krattiger and Nico Beeler frustrated the home crowd with a 21-15, 21-23, 15-8 victory over Canadians Ben Saxton and Grant O'Gorman in the final to win their first World Tour medals. Americans Stafford Slick and Billy Allen were third.

"I had goosebumps during the match and when we heard the national anthem," Krattiger stated. "Last night when I went to bed I imagined myself with the gold medal around my neck and now I have it. Every time I saw a World Tour medal I wanted to touch it and feel it’s incredible that now I have my own."

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