Latvian duo stay calm to start Olympics with a win
After they had fought back from a loss in the first set, they recovered in the second and then took an early lead in the third to finish winners with a 12-21, 21-15, 15 – 12 victory. It took the Latvian duo a little time to secure the win though as the Polish pair saved three match-points.
“We said not to play with too much emotion, to calm down and just focus on technique,” Samoilovs said. “We had to focus on receiving the serve and correct technique. We didn’t want to go with our emotions and chase after the point, we just needed to concentrate.”
Samoilovs and Sorokins began slowly at Horse Guard’s Parade as Prudel and Fijalek showed the form that allowed them to win bronze at the smart Grand Slam, Berlin two weeks ago. They dominated their East-European neighbours from the start of the set and appeared poised to race away with a win before the Latvians fought back.
London 2012 is both teams’ first Olympic Games andwhile Samoilovs competed at Beijing 2008, he put their early mistakes down to opening match nerves.
“There was a lot of emotion,” he said, “but when you want to play and want to play well sometimes it gets too much. I had to hours waiting for the match and was pacing around like a lion in a cage. In the first set we weren’t good enough.”
Both teams are highly familiar with one another after a number of years playing against each other and travelling together on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. Even so despite the amicability between the two sides, their friendship was put to one side once they stepped on court.
“When we are on the world tour we are one big family when we eat together and live together in the same hotel,” Samoilovs said. “Off the court we are friends, but on the court there is only one winner.”
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