Dalhausser-Rosenthal capture FIVB tourney opener

Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal started their new pro beach volleyball partnership on a high note, winning the FIVB World Tour season-opening tournament, the Fuzhou Open, in China.

Dalhausser-Rosenthal defeated Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo in the final, 21-18, 24-22.

It was a small measure of revenge for Dalhausser. The Italians knocked him and Santa Barbara’s Todd Rogers out of the London Olympics tournament last summer. Dalhausser and Rogers, the 2008 Olympic gold medalists, ended their seven-year partnership last year.

Rogers and his new partner, rookie Ryan Doherty, advanced out of pool play in their FIVB debut with a 2-1 record, losing only to the experienced Polish team of Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel. In the first-round of the knockout phase, they fell to the red-hot Austrian team of Alexander Haber and Robin Seidl, 15-21, 24-22, 15-13.

Haber-Seidl, the 32nd seeded team who advanced out of the tournament qualifier, also knocked out Americans Casey Patterson and Jake Gibb and beat Brazil’s Ricardo Alex Costa Santos Alvaro Morais Filho for third place.

Dalhausser-Rosenthal outlasted the Brazilians in the semifinals, 19-21, 26-24, 20-18.

Rogers called their first FIVB tournament performance “okay.”

In an email to Presidio Sports, he said: “We should have beat the Austrians, frankly.  They took third but we are a better team. The Polish team is a good team and we played our best game against them. Ryan was pretty nervous, in general, as you would expect. I felt physically quite good although I thought I played pretty average overall.”

Commenting on winning in his FIVB debut with Rosenthal, Dalhausser wrote on Twitter: “I’m finding the new partnership pretty good. We’re one for one.”

The American teams will stay in China to play in the Shanghai Grand Slam starting Tuesday.