2018-02-26 20:00:00 CEST
From the local heroes to the early surprise of the season, here are the teams you should keep an eye on this week
The Beach Majors Series are about to start and the best teams in the world are reunited in Fort Lauderdale for an entire week of top-class beach volleyball. The men’s tournament will gather Olympic and world champions, World Tour winners and several up-and-coming partnerships, which are all ready to compete for the coveted gold medals.
You can follow each and every match live on BeachStream (click here to register), but if you prefer sticking to a few teams, these are definitely among the ones you should consider:
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena (USA)
The 38-year-old Americans are as much of a home team as you can get with Lucena, a Florida-native, living in the state’s capital Tallahassee and Dalhausser residing in Orlando, where he grew up. The top-seeded team for the Fort Lauderdale Major is fresh from a successful season in 2017, when they triumphed in the World Tour Finals in Hamburg and won the gold medal in the Gstaad Major. Last year they also opened the season in the podium with a bronze medal in Fort Lauderdale. Can they make better in 2018?
Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola (Brazil)
In their first season together, the Brazilians took home the most coveted prize of the 2017 season, the trophy of the World Championships in Vienna. They also finished the year at the top of the world rankings thanks to silver medals collected at the World Tour Finals and the Fort Lauderdale Major, the first international tournament they played as a team. The second-seeded team for the #FTLMajor, Evandro and Andre picked up from where they left off in 2018, achieving back-to-back final appearances in the Brazilian Tour winning gold in João Pessoa and silver in Fortaleza, both after duels against Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt.
Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak (Poland)
The Polish team is one of the longest-lasting in the World Tour currently, being together since 2009. The 25-year-old players have enjoyed success since they joined forces, winning Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 World Championships titles, but they have showed they can also be competitive against the best in the world, collecting a silver medal in the Gstaad Major last year before finishing the season in the sixth place in the world rankings. They started 2018 in good form as well, winning silver medals at both the World Tour four-star event in The Hague and the European Masters in Pelhrimov and are the third-seeded in Fort Lauderdale.
Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov (Russia)
The Russians had a promising first season together in 2017, when they reached the podium in four of 11 World Tour events, with the highlight certainly been the bronze medal at the World Championships in Vienna. They also won gold in Kish Island and The Hague and silver in their home soil of Moscow, ending the season ranked third in the world. Krasilnikov, a Rio 2016 semifinalist, was elected the Best Defensive Player of the year and with Liamin’s game at the net getting more solid as he enters his fourth season in the beach, the Russians tend to be even better in 2018. They are seeded fourth in Fort Lauderdale.
Martins Plavins and Edgards Tocs (Latvia)
A new partnership for the 2018 season, the Latvians have been the most surprising team of the year so far, winning the four-star tournament in The Hague in January and collecting silver in the three-star in Kish Island last week. They also reached the podium in the European Masters in Pelhrimov, when they started in the qualification tournament and progressed to win bronze. The 12th-seeded team in Fort Lauderdale, Plavins, a bronze medalist of the 2012 London Olympics, and Tocs, have won 17 of their first 20 matches together.
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