Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 18, 2016 - The disappointments of Beijing and London turned into delight here late Thursday as 2013 FIVB world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands captured the Beach Volleyball bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by defeating Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia in two sets.
Playing for the third spot on the Copacabana podium with host Brazil and Italy vying for the top two positions at mid-night, the second-seeded Brouwer and Meeuwsen posted a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) win in 46 minutes over the eighth-seeded Krasilnikov and Semenov to give the Dutch their fifth win in six international meetings with the Russians.
With the victory, Brouwer and Meeuwsen erased the past memories of The Netherlands falling short of a medal in Beijing and London where Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuill placed fifth in 2008 after being upset by a team from Georgia and 2012 with a disappointing setback to Martin Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia in the bronze medal match.
In Thursday’s next-to-last match in the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Dutch rallied from an 18-20 deficit to score five of the last six points to win the first set. The role was reversed in the second set as Brouwer and Meeuwsen had leads of 18-14, 19-15, 20-17 before Krasilnikov and Semenov rallied to tie set at 20s. From there, Brouwer and Meeuwsen each had successful attacks to secure the win and medal.
Both teams dropped semi-final matches Tuesday as Brouwer and Meeuwsen was on the short end of a 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 16-14) decision in 56 minutes to Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil. At the end of day Tuesday, Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy scored a 2-1 (15-21, 21-16, 15-13) win in 52 minutes over the Russians.
Krasilnikov and Semenov, who also dropped a three-set match to Lupo and Nicolai at the start of June in the gold medal finale of the European Championships in Switzerland, won five of their seven matches on Copacabana to post the best-ever finish by a Russian Beach Volleyball pair in the Olympics.