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Vilnius event gets underway

The tournament in Vilnius started on Friday featuring countries from Europe and South America.
Vilnius, Lithuania, September 11, 2020 - In a tournament featuring European and South American teams, Marta Ozolina and Luize Skrastina spoiled the day for the women's top-ranked teams in this week's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event as the Latvians posted a pair of pool play wins here Friday in Vilnius including a three-set victory over top-seeded Urte Andriukaityte and Vytene Vitkauskaite from Lithuania.

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With the Lithuanian capital staging the Baltic nation's first-ever FIVB World Tour event in the 34-season history of the international beach volleyball circuit, the ninth-seeded Ozolina and Skrastina opened Pool A play on Friday with a two-set win over Latvian rivals Kristine Briede and Krista Paegle before scoring a 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 16-14) victory in 48 minutes over Andriukaityte and Vitkauskaite to advance to the quarterfinals Saturday.

Andriukaityte and Vitkauskaite entered the competition as the most-experienced pair in the 14-team field as the Lithuanians were appearing in their seventh FIVB World Tour events with a silver medal finish at a 2018 event in Slovenia where they lost the finale to Vasiliki Arvaniti and Penny Karagkouni of Greece in Ljubljana.

Holding their seeds in the women's competition on Friday with pool-clinching wins were second-seeded Margherita Bianchin/Claudia Scampoli of Italy (Pool B), third-seeded Ieva Dumbauskaite/Karole Virbickaite of Lithuania (Pool C) and fourth-seeded Francisca Rivas Chris Vorpahl, who scored a three-set win over Chilean rivals Pilar Mardones and Paula Vallejos to win Pool D.

Saturday's women's schedule features eight elimination matches as Andriukaityte and Vitkauskaite will be challenged by 12th-seeded compatriots Diana Kancerevyciene and Karolina Santaryte in a first-round match with the winning team playing Bianchin and Scampoli for a spot in Sunday's semifinals.  

Bianchin and Scampoli are the second-most experience pair in the women's field as the Italians posted a fifth on the World Tour last season after placing second at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympics.

In the men's competition where five matches were played Friday, two pairs from host Lithuania won opening pool play matches along with teams from Estonia, Italy and Latvia as other tandems from Estonia, Lithuania and Poland advanced to the second-round of group play with byes.

Saturday's featured pool match has FIVB World Tour medal winners and second-seeded Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar of Estonia being challenged by seventh-seeded Lithuanians Matas Navickas and Linas Petravicius, who posted a three-set win Friday over compatriots Andzej Savostenok and Tomas Stasevicius.

Of the 13 men's team in the competition, Nolvak and Tiisaar are the only pair with World Tour podium placements as the Estonians placed third at a 2017 event in Malaysia before securing silver medals finishes in 2018 and 2019 at events in Singapore and Latvia, respectively.

After completing pool play with five matches on Saturday morning, the men will play eight elimination contests in the afternoon to set the field for Sunday's semifinals. The Vilnius tournament features €10,000 in prize money with the winning men's and women's teams Sunday each sharing the €1,000 first-place prizes.

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