One upset was enough for Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. The world beach volleyball champions won their fifth consecutive match since being tripped up in the opener of the Beijing Olympics, and on Friday morning, August 22 (Thursday night in Santa Barbara), they will play for the gold medal.
Rogers and Dalhausser made quick work of Georgia’s Renato Gomes and Jorge Terceiro in the semifinals Wednesday morning. The Santa Barbara-based duo had their most convincing victory of the tournament by scores of 21-11 and 21-13. “They are so strong a team, I even didn’t know how to concentrate on the game,” Terceiro told China’s Xinhua News Agency after the match.
Gomes and Terceiro are natives of Brazil who became citizens of Georgia to qualify for the Olympics, and in the gold-medal match Rogers and Dalhausser will face two more Brazilians.
Fabio Magalhaes and Marcio Araujo knocked off their compatriots, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, in the other semifinal, 22-20 and 21-18. It was a mild upset. Emanuel and Ricardo, the defending Olympic champions, were seeded No. 3, and Fabio and Marcio were No. 4.
Rogers and Dalhausser went into the Olympics as the No. 2 seed because the top team of host China was given the first position. But the Chinese did not get out of the round of 16.
The 23rd-seeded Latvian team stunningly swept Rogers and Dalhausser in their first match of pool play, but since then the U.S. favorites have dropped just one set. The other American team, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal, lost to Emanuel and Ricardo in the quarterfinals.
Beijing’s beach volleyball championships are scheduled to be televised by NBC with a three-hour delay on the West Coast. At 11 p.m. Wednesday is the women’s match - Misty May and Kerri Walsh, unbeaten in 107 consecutive matches, will defend their Olympic title against China’s Jia Tian and Jie Wang. The men’s match will be featured at 11 p.m. Thursday.