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2018-03-01 03:15:00 CET

Sharp as usual

Dalhausser and Lucena return to the sands with their regular firepower at the #FTLMajor

Nick Lucena dives to dig the ball (Photocredit: FIVB)Nick Lucena dives to dig the ball (Photocredit: FIVB)

The first day of the men’s main draw in the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major couldn’t have ended better with local heroes Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States giving the crowd a proper send off in the Red Bull Beach Arena.

The top-seeded team of the first Beach Major Series event of the year, the Americans followed their plan and debuted in the usual dominant shape by defeating Norway qualifiers Hendrik Mol and Mathias Bernsten in straight sets (21-15, 21-11).

“I think we served really tough,” Phil commented. “We’ve put them in bad spots and that makes it really tough for them to side out, especially when you have Nick running around like a mad man back there. I thought it was a solid win. We had a quick game plan and executed it.”

It was the first time the Americans played since early September, one week after their victory at the 2017 World League Finals in Hamburg. The preparation for the match, the last of the day in the #FTLMajor, was as careful as possible.

“It was challenging preparing for this match,” Lucena said afterwards. “We haven’t played in six months and then we had to watch everybody play today and wait. We had a little anxiety, but we decided to push through that little window of the nerves and I thought we got back to what we used to do and we played pretty well. Our ball control was a lot better than expected.”

Dalhausser and Lucena will now return to the court on Thursday as the Americans will face the new Canadian team of Ben Saxton and Grant O’Gorman for the first place in Pool A.

Their victory was a good summary of the day as most of the favorites prevailing on their debuts. That was also the case in Pool B, with world champions Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola of Brazil and Americans Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb starting off with wins.

In Pool D, Russia’s Nikita Liamin/Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira were the ones to start stronger while Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins dominated the first day in Pool E.

Former world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands and Brazilian Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt too the early lead in Pool F.

Pool play will be completed on Thursday with 16 matches scheduled for the day. After their conclusion, the top-seeded teams in each group will advance directly to the Round of 16, while the other two tandems to get wins will be drawn in the Round of 24.

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

If you can't be here at #FTLMajor - you can watch all games live at our #BeachStream 📺🏐🇺🇸 https://t.co/WluNq81fW1 #hellosunny #GivesYouWings #wawa

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