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Greece’s Arvaniti/Karagkouni upset second seeded Russians

Vasiliki Arvaniti (left) and Panagiota Karagkouni of Greece reached the second knockout round for the first time in their team career
Durban, South Africa, December 13, 2013 – Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti and Panagiota Karagkouni reached their first important FIVB milestone at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Durban Open on Friday. For the first time since they partnered up at the beginning of this year the Greek pair reached the second elimination round.

In a direct match for top position in pool B Arvaniti and Karagkouni upset second seeded Russian pair Evgenia Ukolova and Maria Prokopeva 2-1 (19-21 21-17 16-14). After coming back from one set behind the Greek girls played point by point in the tiebreak.

Karagkouni: “The key to winning today was a good side-out and good block-defence and kept serving in the back of the court. And I think that broke the Russian reception.”

“It was a tough game”, said 28-year old Arvaniti. “We played them one month ago in Thailand. We had a close game then, but lost in two sets. We really wanted to win this because it would be our first time to be 9th in the FIVB and first place in the group. So we were very focussed.”

Arvaniti is a veteran on the World Tour and she competed in the Olympic Games in 2004, 2008 and 2012 with three different partners. This year she started all over with 20-year old inexperienced Karagkouni and they really struggled in the beginning.

“It has been very difficult for me”, said former volleyball player Karagkouni. “Because in the beginning all we did was lose matches, I did not know how to attack, how to move in the sand. So I am really excited we finally got 9th place. I came from indoor volleyball and I am not missing it at all. I prefer beach, it’s more exciting and I would like to continue to the Olympics.”

Arvaniti: “We have improved a lot. We had few points at the beginning of the year. We knew the road up would be very difficult. But to take this 9th place is very exciting and we hope to continue in the tournament, because we need to get some more points for next year to be able to start in main draw.”

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