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Latvian pair end local hopes at Anapa Open

Martins Plavins (left) and Alexsandrs Solovejs claimed their first World Tour gold at the Anapa Open
Anapa, Russia, June 1, 2014 – Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Solovejs ended the hopes of a home win at the Anapa Open when they defeated Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in the men’s gold medal match on Sunday. 

The Latvian pair won their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal together with a 2-1 (21-16, 24-26, 15-13) victory.

They took control early in both sets, but despite holding four match points at the end of the second set, Semenov and Krasilnikov rallied to draw level. 
In the third set the teams went point for point, but once Plavins and Solovejs edged ahead they held on for victory.

“It is always nice to win and it is nice to win when we have a lot of fans cheering for us,” Plavins said. “We are happy to win and I’ve very pleased for Alex because it shows how much he has improved.”

Plavins is no stranger to success having won London 2012 Olympic bronze and gold at the 2013 Stare Jablonki Grand Slam with previous partner Janis Smedins. 

He and Solovejs have only been a team since the end of 2013 and this is their second FIVB medal after they won silver at the Durban Open in December 2013.
“The match was good and we played pretty well and we won, so I have to say I like this tournament,” Solovejs said.

Semenov was unable to match his success from 2013 when he and Yaroslav Koshkarev won gold. 

However, his and Krasilnikov’s silver medals are the second they have won on the World Tour after they finished second at the Berlin Grand Slam in 2013. 

“We had the Russian championships last week, so we were a little tired from playing two tournaments,” Semenov said. The match was our best of the tournament, so but we were just a little tired.

“We are happy to add silver to our collections and while we felt we could give 90%, there were just some little things missing.”

Gabathuler and Gerson edge out fellow Swiss for bronze

In the bronze medal match Philip Gabathuler and Mirco Gerson fought back from losing the opening set to defeat their fellow Swiss Sebastien Chevallier and Alexei Strasser 2-1 (16-21, 21-17, 16-14) and win their first-ever World Tour medals.

“They made it pretty hard for me with their block-defence system and then in the second set I improved and tried to be a bit more intelligent in my attacking and at the end if it is that close, luck played a part,” Gabathuler said.

“We weren’t thinking about the other team, we were more concerned with ourselves and what we were going to do. Of course it was really special to reach the semifinal and then playing in a bronze medal match is always special, no matter who you are playing.” 

The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia ran from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender received 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It was the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.

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