Smedins and Samoilovs eye further glory at Rome Grand Slam
The duo had a hard struggle and had to fight back from a set down to beat Brazil’s Ricardo Santos and Alvaro Filho 2-1 (19-21, 22-20, 15-10) at the Foro Italico.
“We were leading in the first set for some points, but at the end of the set they played a little better and with more confidence and we didn’t play so well and lost the set,” Smedins said. “In the second it was point for point and we just kept fighting. We needed to fight the whole match and we did it.”
Olympic bronze medallist Smedins only teamed up with Samoilovs at the end of the year, but already they have won gold at the Corrientes Grand Slam and silver at The Hague Grand Slam last week.
They were slow to find their form in Rome, but now they have a semifinal against another Brazilian pair in Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego.
“To win once is ok, but to prove you want to be in every semifinal is harder and harder,” Smedins said. “Today was really hard and yesterday was really hard and it is as though everything is getting harder and harder.
“You want to play well, but it doesn’t always happen. That is why we want to win it all and we are glad to get in the semifinal again.”
Brazilian pair out to add to Rome medal collection
Emanuel and Alison reached the last four with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) victory against Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel.
The duo have been slow to find their form this season after Alison was forced to miss the first two events of the year with a hand injury. However, they have good memories of Rome having won the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships there in 2011 and then claimed silver at the 2012 Grand Slam.
"I think at the moment we are starting to play better,” Emanuel said. “In our first two events we didn’t play as strongly as we can, but I am happy that we are starting to play better ahead of the semifinal.
“They aren’t an easy team; we lost to them last week. It is always hard to play against a team that knows you well and have to try something new and develop some new strategies and I think that’s what we did in this match.”
Pedro and Bruno to meet Dalhausser and Rosenthal
The other semifinal will pit The Hague Grand Slam winners Pedro Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt against Sean Rosenthal, one half of the 2012 Rome gold medallists and Phil Dalhausser.
Pedro and Bruno saw off Germany’s Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann 2-0 (21-17, 21-16), while Rosenthal and Dalhausser were pushed hard by Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, but eventually won 2-0 (21-19, 21-18).
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.