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New Euro partnerships making strides at Anapa Open

Martins Plavins has made good progress so far at the Anapa Open
Anapa, Russia, May 29, 2014 – Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Solovejs and Switzerland’s Sebastien Chevallier and Alexei Strasser, two teams in the early stages of their partnerships both made winning starts on the first day at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Anapa Open.

Plavins and Solovejs started with a 2-0 (26-24, 21-12) win over Russia’s Ilya Leshukov and Aleksander Margiev and then followed up with a 2-1 (28-26, 14-21, 15-10) victory in a fierce Baltic coast derby against Estonia’s Kristo Kollo and Rivo Vesik.
“We practised together in Latvia for four days last week, so we already knew each other very well and then we played each other here,” Plavins said. 

“Both matches were very hard because we only came here yesterday evening; First of all we played a young Russian side and our concentration was very bad throughout the match, but we won. Then in the second match we started very badly, but we got lucky at the end of the first set, then played badly in the second, but played ok in the third.”

Plavins is a sporting legend in his home country after he and previous partner Janis Smedins won one of only two Latvian medallists at the London 2012 Olympic Games, when they claimed bronze at Horse Guard’s Parade.

Durban success

They split at the end of 2012 and while Smedins enjoyed a year of success on the way to the World Rankings title with Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Plavins suffered a year of injury and chopped and changed partners. 

However, the 29-year-old teamed up with Solovejs towards the end of 2013 and enjoyed success before the end of the year when the pair won silver at the Durban Open. They lost to Smedins and Samoilovs in the final, a match which capped the pairs’ World Ranking title success. 

“We played last year in Durban at the end of the season,” Plavins added. “I chose him because he is a full-time beach volleyball player and he doesn’t play volleyball as many of my previous partners did. 

“It means he can practise all year and for me that is very good. We need to be full-time if we want to get to Rio (de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games).”

Practice makes perfect

Swiss Olympian Chevallier and Strasser first teamed up for the 2013 Sao Paolo Grand Slam and have already competed in the Fuzhou Open and Shanghai Grand Slam this year. 

They showed their class on the opening day of men’s pool play in Anapa with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) win over Ukraine’s Sergiy Popov and Illia Kovalov and then followed that up with a 2-1 (21-18, 17-21, 15-8) win against Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Selcuk Sekerci.

“We had three weeks at home and we worked hard and worked on the points that where we had some trouble in China and it is nice to put it in practice today and end with two wins,” Chevallier said. 

“We set up together at the end of last season and we will go for the next three years and it is good to see we are working hard at home and then being able to play well when we get back on the Tour.”

The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia runs from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender receive 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It is the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.


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