2016-06-06 07:50:00 CEST
Lupo and Nicolai earn gold in thrilling final
Italian eyes were smiling on center court on Sunday at the European Championships as Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai clinched gold in a dramatic final in Biel.
The Italians, who won gold in Sochi last month, had knocked out fancied Dutch duo Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in an epic semi-final contest earlier in the day, and it was a similarly tense final against Russians Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov.
Lupo/Nicolai kept the Russians at bay in the first set, winning by six points to lead 1-0. However, the Russians stormed back in the second, limiting the Italians to just 13 points to win 21-13 and level the scores.
In the decider, the lead swung one way and the next as the packed center court were treated to some masterful beach volleyball from both teams. Eventually, Lupo and Nicolai wrestled advantage into their favor and secured victory after 43 breath-taking minutes.
The bronze medal match was also a treat for the capacity crowd in Switzerland, too. Many believed the Netherlands’ Brouwer and Meeuwsen were favorites but they did not count on the skills of Polish pair Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel who, despite being seeded 12th, dominated and won in straight sets 21-17, 21-19.
It was a well-deserved third-place for the Poles who had been involved in the long-match of the men’s tournament when edging a thriller against Italian twins Matteo Ingrosso and Paolo Ingrosso in the quarter-finals.
Will there be as much drama in Hamburg this week? You bet! And the best way to get in the know at our first Major Series stop of the summer is to keep your ears to the ground via our social media channels, so click here for more information!