Samoilovs and Smedins through to semis at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open
Fuzhou, China, April 25, 2014 - Latvia's Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins are through to the semifinals at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open after overwhelming Olympic silver medalist Emanuel Rego and his new partner Pedro Solberg Salgado 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) on Friday.
Topping Pool E, Samoilovs and Smedins progressed directly into the second round of the single elimination phase meeting Spain's third seeds Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira in their first match of the day. The Latvians had to come from one set down to win 2-1 (23-25, 21-17, 16-14).
Their third round match proved less of a challenge against Emanuel and Pedro, defeating the newly-formed Brazilian pair in just 35 minutes.
"They had more mistakes today," said
Smedins. "In pool matches we didn't play our best game, we also lost one
match. But we played good today, I feel
Smedins said that the victory against Pedro gave him a "special" feeling.
"It's good to win against Pedro because we were fighting hard last year for the first place in the World Tour rankings. It's very nice," said Smedins.
Samoilovs and Smedins will play another Brazilian pair - Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt - for a spot in the gold medal match on Saturday.
"It won't be an easy match. We need to play very
good to beat them (Alison/Bruno). We want to get a medal in the first
tournament of this year," said Smedins.
The other semifinal will feature Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst from the Netherlands and Italy's Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo.
Stiekema and Varenhorst nailed two quick wins on Friday to advance, defeating Plavins and Solovejs of Latvia 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) in 34 minutes before easing past Swiss qualifiers Mats Kovatsch and Jonas Kissling 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in 34 minutes as well.
Nicolai and Lupo edged Alexander Brouwer and Michiel van Dorsten of the Netherlands 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-11) to reach the semifinals in Fuzhou for the second straight year.
Last year the Italian duo grabbed the silver medal here after going down to USA's Sean Rosenthal and Philip Dalhausser in the final.
The defending champions were eliminated in the second round of the knock-out phase, losing to Alison and Bruno 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12).
Fuzhou, capital of the Fujian province lies on the southeast coast of Chinese mainland and hosts the Open event for the second straight year.
In addition to the Fuzhou Open, two other stops are scheduled in China in 2014 on the FIVB international schedule: the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam (April 29 to May 4) and the FIVB Xiamen Open (October 7 to 12). All three are double-gender events.