Dalhausser and Ross Shine at Manhattan Beach Open

Manhattan Beach, Calif. – Phil Dalhausser and April Ross took on different partners in defending their championships at the $200,000 AVP Manhattan Beach Open Presented by Acer. Yet, the beat rolled on for both Olympians Sunday before a standing-room-only crowd around Stadium Court south of the Manhattan Beach pier.

April Ross and Jennifer Fopma celebrate their victory at the Manhattan Beach Open on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman
April Ross and Jennifer Fopma celebrate their victory at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open Presented by Acer on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

2008 Olympic gold medalist Dalhausser won his fifth AVP Manhattan Beach Open title and helped partner Nick Lucena to his first in defeating Tri Bourne and John Hyden, 21-19, 21-17 in the men’s final.

In the women’s final, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Ross repeated her AVP Manhattan Beach Open championship feat with fellow Costa Mesa, Calif. resident Jennifer Fopma as the top-seeded women downed 2008 U.S. Olympian Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp, 21-15, 26-24.

2008 Olympic gold medalist Phil Dalhausser at the net doing his thing at the Manhattan Beach Open. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman
2008 Olympic gold medalist Phil Dalhausser at the net doing his thing at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open Presented by Acer. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

Dalhausser is tied with a host of players for second all-time in AVP Manhattan Beach Open championships, three short of AVP legend Karch Kiraly. Dalhausser won this event with Todd Rogers from 2006-08 and with Sean Rosenthal in 2014.

The third-seeded Dalhausser/Lucena partnership is somewhat of a back-to-the-future saga. Both finished runner-up a week ago at the AVP Seattle Open, which was the first time the duo had played together since October of 2005 – the same year the tandem was the AVP Manhattan Beach Open runner-up.

Winning on Sunday scratched that 10-year itch for the pair, which had not won an AVP event together since May 1, 2005 – the AVP Austin Open in Austin, Tex. Today’s victory set an AVP record for the longest span of time betweenAVP wins by the same team (10 years, three months).

April Ross and Jennifer Fopma go to work against Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman
April Ross and Jennifer Fopma go to work against Nicole Branagh and Jenny Kropp. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

“We lost 10 years ago in the (AVP Manhattan Beach Open) final. We got a second chance and that’s why it makes this so sweet,” said Dalhausser, a Manhattan Beach resident who won his 47th AVP title and played in his seventh AVPManhattan Beach Open final in 10 starts. “I’m coming, Karch!”

“This is the best. I’m very excited,” added Lucena, a Florida native, who won his fourth AVP championship.

Ross and Fopma won their second AVP event in as many weeks, and Ross has won three of the four tournaments on the 2015 AVP Tour. Ross won the season-opening AVP New Orleans Open with her normal partner, Kerri Walsh Jennings, who is recovering from a shoulder injury with plans to return later in the AVP season.

Phil Dalhausser drops the hammer at the 56th AVP Manhattan Beach Open Presented by Acer. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman
Phil Dalhausser drops the hammer at the 56th AVP Manhattan Beach Open Presented by Acer. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

Further illustrating Ross’ dominant run on the AVP Tour, she has won 10 of her last 11 AVP tournaments, dating back to 2014, and 19 of her last 24 AVP starts going back to May 2010. Ross holds 23 AVP titles overall. Fopma earned her first plaque on the Manhattan Beach Pier – to be unveiled next year’s AVP Manhattan Beach Open Walk of Fame pier ceremony – and third career AVP title.

Ross and Fopma reached the final after enduring a 21-16, 23-21 victory over second-seeded Emily Day, of Hermosa Beach, Calif., and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jennifer Kessy, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif. resident and Ross’ 2012 London Olympic Games partner.

Dalhausser/Lucena advanced to the final with a 21-14, 21-14 victory over upstarts Trevor and Taylor Crabb. The Crabb brothers, playing in an AVP main draw event for the first time, were the lowest seeded team (No. 13 seed) to reach an AVP Manhattan Beach Open semifinal this century and a semifinal on the AVP Tour since 2010.

Bourne/Hyden knocked off the tournament’s top two seeds this weekend and defeated No. 2 seed Ryan Doherty and John Mayer, last week’s AVP Seattle Open champions, 23-21, 18-21, 15-11, in a morning semifinal.

Branagh and Kropp, the 2011 and 2012 champion in Manhattan Beach, fought through the contender’s bracket after a second-round defeat on Friday and gained a 21-16, 21-18 semifinal victory over third-seeded Summer Ross, of Carlsbad, Calif., and Manhattan Beach resident Lane Carico.

 

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1076 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.