Mashkova and Tsimbalova on course for a medal in Anapa
In their first match the two 25-year olds defeated Russia’s Evgeniia Iakovleva and Anastasiia Strugova 2-0 (21-11 21-13). Later on Wednesday they had to make more of an effort against Norway’s Cindy Treland and Janne Pedersen (21-18 21-18) in the pouring rain.
“It feels good that we won today, although the Russian team was very young and I think it was their first game at a FIVB event”, Mashkova said.
Since Mashkova and Tsimbalova, who have been playing together since 2009, booked some good results in the first half of the season they hope for more in Russia.
They made it to the main draw of three Grand Slams and the World Championships this year, something they never achieved before. In all four events they finished 17th.
New training options
The reason for their progress was a good preparation this winter, Mashkova said. “We were able to practice a lot with other teams in Europe. It’s always a big problem for us to find good opponents in our own country, so we were very happy to train with European teams. It improved our game a lot.”
In Kazakhstan good players their age are scarce. “We have a national tour, but the level is very poor.” But beach volleyball is growing more and more popular in Kazakhstan. “There are a lot of beach volleyball events for children now and a lot more young players.”
Their 5th place at the Bangsaen Open last year also helped their cause. “We found some new sponsors after that because of that good result. So winning a medal here would mean a lot.”
Mashkova and Tsimbalova are seeded second in Anapa after Russia’s Ukolova and Khomyakova. “We gathered a lot of points this year, so that’s why we are second seeded here. But this is still a good competition and all teams are strong here”, Mashkova said.
“Of course we hope for a good result here, but all teams will want the same. Being second seeded also makes us a bit nervous.”
On Thursday awaits their next challenge on their way to a medal. In their final pool play match they will play Japan’s Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe for top position in pool B and a bye in the first elimination round.
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