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World Tour leaders on track in Durban

Latvia's Aleksandrs Samoilovs (left) and Janis Smedins booked straight wins and are on track to claim the overall World Tour title
Durban, South Africa, December 12, 2013 – Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs did not make any mistakes on the first day of main draw at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Durban Open. The current leaders of the World Tour season ranking won both their matches on Thursday at New Beach.

Their rivals for the title, Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, were also flawless, booking two straight wins over South Africa’s Stemmet and Naidoo (21-17 21-8) and Sekerci and Giginoglu from Turkey (21-15 21-16).

Smedins and Samoilovs first defeated fellow countrymen Plavins and Solovejs (21-15 21-16) before they beat Swiss team Kovatsch and Kissling (21-15 21-16).

The Latvians were not sure about their form coming to Durban, but were happy with their performance on the first day. Smedins: “It was good. Not too many mistakes. We played stable. We did not play for a while in a tournament and also in Latvia now it’s winter. There is 20 centimetres of snow, minus 10. There is only the possibility to play indoor.”

“It was hard when we came out here, the first two days it was very windy. We were a little bit afraid of that because it has been a long time since we played outside. We had some technical problems in the reception of the serve. But now it’s ok and the wind is not that strong anymore.”

At the beginning of the season the Latvians did not actually plan to go to Durban. “We planned China to be our last event this year, but then we were in first place. We said let’s go and fight for first place and see who will get it. We did not just want to give it to them. So we came and we will fight for it. That’s why we are here.”

And a fight they will get, because Pedro and Bruno are in Durban for the same thing. “We still have a chance”, said Pedro. “Let’s see what we can do and hopefully we can win the title.”

The point difference between the two teams is only 250 points. Smedins and Samoilovs need to reach the quarterfinal to be sure of the title.

Both teams teamed up for the first time at the beginning of 2013. On the World Tour this year, Smedins and Samoilovs and Pedro and Bruno have identical records with two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

FIVB Durban Open tournament page

FIVB Durban Open women’s schedule and results

FIVB Durban Open men’s schedule and results

FIVB Durban Open Twitter account

FIVB Facebook account

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