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Latvian duo zone in on World Tour crown

Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins would be the first European team to win back-to-back World Tour titles should fate go there way in Mangaung
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 14, 2014 – Defending FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour champions Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins are leading the charge in the race for the 2014 title but the contest is still wide open with one event to go. 

The pair have finished on the top step of the podium just once this year – at the Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico – but nine top 5 finishes, including two silver medals sees them remain in contention to win back-to-back Tour crowns.

The duo are both expected to compete in Mangaung, however with different partners (Samoilovs with Atvars Vilde and Smedins with brother Toms), leaving the door open for one of two rival teams to take the title.

USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal sit just 330 points behind them, meaning a fourth place finish in South Africa would see them clinch their first World Tour title as a pair. Both have won the circuit previously – Dalhausser with Todd Rogers in 2010 and Rosenthal with Jake Gibb in 2012 – and currently have three gold medals in 2014 after winning back-to-back Grand Slams in Stavanger and Gstaad before following up with victory on home sand in Long Beach. However with Dalhausser suffering from injury problems in the latter half of this year and neither currently registered to compete at the Mangaung Open a second title for the two is looking less likely.

However Brazil’s Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti could still deliver a shock should they compete in South Africa in a few weeks’ time. The pair sit third in the rankings and a gold medal would see them be crowned champions should the other two pairs fail to register any points. The duo are also not yet registered for the tournament but after finishing top of the podium at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam as well as second in Gstaad and third in Berlin they could fancy their chances. Alison has won the title before, in 2011, the same year he won the World Championship with legendary player Emanuel Rego. But it would be a first significant crown for Bruno, who is now in his sixth year of the circuit.

The 2014 FIVB World Tour concludes in South Africa with the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Mangaung Open from December 9-14.

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