What are the odds of two American qualifier teams meeting in an FIVB Grand Slam final? Seeing as the match between John Hyden and Tri Bourne and Nick Lucena and Ryan Doherty to conclude the Berlin Grand Slam marked the first time two qualifier teams made it to a grand slam final, we’ll say quite unlikely. Hyden and Bourne took the win 21-17, 21-11 to pocket the $57,000 purse and earn Hyden, 41, the title of oldest player ever to win an FIVB gold medal.
To reach the final, both American teams met Brazilian foes in the semis. Hyden and Bourne dismantled Emanuel Rego and Pedro Solberg Salgado 21-16, 21-13, while Doherty and Lucena shut down Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti in a close three set match 15-21, 21-18, 15-11.
The Americans’ performance marked personal bests for all but Lucena, who added the Berlin silver to his second place finish at the 2010 Klagenfurt Grand Slam with former partner Matt Fuerbringer. Hyden and Bourne both counted 17ths as their previous highest grand slam finishes, while Doherty earned his first international medal, topping a fifth-place finish at last season’s Sao Paulo Grand Slam with Lucena.
On the women’s side, the Czech duo of Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova collected their second international gold medal following their podium-topping performance at the Prague Open, May 25. The duo defeated Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva in the Berlin final, taking the win 21-14, 18-21, 15-12, with a missed served by the Brazilians giving the Czech women the win.