Big names march into Rome Grand Slam main draw
Toms Smedins (right) and Ruslans Sorokins enjoyed their opening day's performance at the smart Grand Slam - Rome|
Rome, Italy, June 18, 2013 – The smart Grand Slam - Rome began in impressive style with a number of men’s and women’s teams seeking to make an early impression by qualifying for the main draw that begins on Wednesday, June 19.
Eight teams per gender made it through, with London 2012 Olympians and medallists from the previous Grand Slam among those who qualified, meaning that the main draw and pools stages will be as competitive as ever over the next week.
Latvian duo reaping the fruits of hard work
Latvia’s Toms Smedins and Ruslans Sorokins showed the benefit of hard work by reaching the men’s main draw with a 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 18-16) win over Greece’s Nikos Zoupanis and Georgios Kotsilianos.
Latvia is currently going through a boom in beach volleyball; Smedins’ brother Janis won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Martins Plavins and a week later claimed their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold at the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam. This season he has been paired with Aleksandrs Samoilovs and the pair already have gold and silver medals to their names this season.
There is no rivalry between Toms Smedins and his younger brother of two years, but they do push each other hard in training, something which is beginning to show in Smedins and Sorokins performances on the court. MORE
English duo into women’s main draw in Rome
In the women’s qualifiers England’s Lucy Boulton and Zara Dampney held off the challenge of Thai pair Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee to reach the main draw with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) win.
In soaring temperatures the English were pushed hard by the Thai team, but used their greater experience and power to overwhelm them late on in the second set.
“They were tough conditions out here, it’s still hot, even at five o’clock,” Boulton said. “Zara sided-out like a champ and made some points and we’re through to the main draw which is exactly what we wanted.”
Also into the next round are Canada’s Jamie-Lyn Broder and Kristina Valjas who held their nerve against local favourites Grazziella Lo Re and Giulia Toti to win 2-0 (21-11, 21-19).
Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado, fresh from winning silver at The Hague Grand Slam last week won their match in straight sets, while there were victories for another five teams that guarantees their participation in the main draw. MORE
The Rome Grand Slam is the fourth Grand Slam of 10 on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The competition runs from June 17 until June 23, when both the men’s and women’s finals take place.
Following the Rome Grand Slam, the world’s leading players take a week’s break before the start of the ninth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki from July 1-7. After the World Championships are completed the World Tour resumes the following week at the Gstaad Grand Slam in the Swiss Alps.
Rome Grand Slam Tournament Page
Rome Grand Slam Women's Entry List
Rome Grand Slam Men's Entry List