Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 27, 2015 – Nick Lucena and Theodore Brunner may only have been playing together for a short time, but they shrugged off any unfamiliarity to make a winning start to the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
The pair beat Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev and Alexey Kuleshov 2-0 (21-10, 21-14). They had played three tournaments on the NORCECA Tour back in 2013, but only teamed up for the first time on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at the last event of 2014, the Mangaung Open in South Africa.
In 2015 they have played five World Tour events and claimed bronze at the most recent, in St Petersburg, Florida.
“We’ve waited a while for this game and took a bit of time to get into,” Lucena said. “I thought defensively we struggled a little bit but we scored the points, so I’m happy. We’ll get another swing of things and I’m sure we’ll be better.”
“We’re trying to take it one game at a time and try iron things out,” Brunner added. “It’s a process so we’ll just take baby steps.”
Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta returned to the World Championships for the first time since winning gold alongside Larissa Franca at Rome 2011.
She and new partner Maria Antonelli made light-work of winning their first match, ending with a 2-0 (21-7, 21-0) win over Algeria’s Meriem Boucheta and Louiza Bayou.
“I’m so happy to be playing the World Championships again,” Juliana said. “I hope we have saved some energy so that we can improve and play hard tomorrow (against Vanuatu’s Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu).”
“We did our job very well today,” Maria Antonelli added. “We’ve worked hard before coming here. I’m proud of Juliana and I hope we improve over the next games.”
Their fellow Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos also began with a 2-0 (21-10, 21-16) victory, but they were pushed hard by Ghanaian pair Edward Seidu and Jonathan Scott, who saved two match points before the 2003 world champions secured the win.
“This event is great, the organisation and this city, so there is a really good feeling,” Emanuel said. “I like the World Championships and I like playing here in Amsterdam.”
In the same pool Spanish duo Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera also showed that they are still buoyed by winning their first World Tour gold in recent weeks with a straight sets, 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) victory over Russian pair Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin.
One team that didn’t make such a comfortable start were number two seeds Larissa and Talita Antunes, who were pushed hard in three sets by Dutch pair Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist.