The 38-year old Nummerdor is now the most successful Dutch player in history with 11 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals. He is also a two-time Olympian, finishing fifth in Beijing and London with his former partner Richard Schuil.
“Still, I am very happy with this win”, Nummerdor said. “We were under a lot of pressure this tournament, as the number one seeded.”
In the second the Grimalt-cousins put up more of a fight. Marco Grimalt took advantage of the hard, rained down sand and had a couple of big blocks on Nummerdor.
“The second set was close for a while”, Nummerdor said. “We were even behind one point. We got a bit tired, missed a few balls and missed some chances. So that was a bit nerve-racking.”
A smart short service gave Nummerdor and Varenhorst an important lead at 19-18. A great rally followed, with both Dutchies diving after a Chilean roll shot. Nummerdor dug the ball of the sand and Varenhorst set the ball while still sitting. His partner then scored a perfect cut shot.
“His cut shots in the beginning of the tournament were not that great”, Varenhorst said. “But in the semi and final they were all perfect.” The final ended at the first Dutch match point with a net fault by the Grimalts. “When you create a gap of two points at the end”, said Nummerdor, “then you know if you just side-out, it’s done.”
For Varenhorst this is his third career medal, after gold at the Sao Paulo Grand Slam with Nummerdor and bronze with his former partner Jon Stiekema in Fuzhou. Varenhorst teamed up with Nummerdor at the end of August, after the veteran recovered from a knee injury.
“This has been a fantastic partnership so far”, the 2012 Rookie of the year said. “We have been playing well from beginning to start. This began in Poland (Stare Jablonki) where we finished fifth. And after that we only lost one game, I think. I am really happy Reinder is making me play my best and I can also make him play well.”
The Grimalts finished the season with back-to-back silver medals after second place at the Parana Open. “They are very good players, Nummerdor is a very experienced player and that other guy is too tall”, said the youngest Grimalt, Esteban. “I think we played a good match, but in the end we made too many mistakes. But we are satisfied and happy with this tournament.”
Third medal for Krou/Rowlandson
France’s Youssef Krou and Edouard Rowlandson grabbed the bronze in Bloemfontein with a 2-0 win (21-16, 21-17) over Sebastian Fuchs and Thomas Kaczmarek of Germany. It is their third medal in their first season together. They already won the Xiamen Open and bronze in Doha.
Fuchs and Kaczmarek, who looked still exhausted from their tough battle against the Grimalts in the semifinal on Saturday, did not hit their form. After a quick first set the French reached match point at 20-15 for the first time. The Germans warded off two, but served out at 20-17.
“This medal is very, very important for us”, Rowlandson said. “Because we wanted to finish the season with a win. Losing the bronze medal game would have been very tough on us, because we had a good period the last few tournaments.”
Rowlandson finished 9th last year at the Durban Open with now retired Andy Ces, and teamed up with Krou, who he knew from youth tournaments, at the beginning of his season. Winning three medals at the end of their first year gives them confidence for their ultimate goal: the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“We played our best beach volleyball this tournament, but we made a non-game in the semifinals”, said Krou. “We were frustrated at the end of that game not being able to show our best volleyball”, Rowlandson added. “So we are happy to finish with this one.”