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Local favourite finding form en route to defending Anapa gold

 
Konstantin Semenov has made a strong start to the defence of his Anapa Open title
 
Anapa, Russia, May 30, 2014 – Russian favourite Konstantin Semenov completed stage one in the defence of his Anapa Open gold medal after he and partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov wrapped up pool play on Friday with three wins from three.
 
After two wins on Thursday, they ensured they topped their pool with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) victory over Austria’s Peter Eglseer and Felix Koraimann.

“The group stage has been fairly straightforward, but we were just a little bit anxious in the third match, but we had to focus on finishing first in our pool,” Semenov said. 

“The second match was much better than our first and then in the second set we were a little bit tired and lost concentration a little bit, but we feel we improved from the second match.”

A year ago in Anapa he won his first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour medal alongside Yaroslav Koshkarev, but soon after he and Krasilnikov won their first Grand Slam medals with silver at the Berlin Grand Slam and have stayed together ever since.

Despite being the centre of attention in Anapa, the 208cm-tall Semenov is not feeling the weight of expectation and as group winners they go straight through to the second elimination round.

“No, I’m not feeling the pressure,” he said. “I’m feeling quite relaxed here.”

Czech mate

The Czech Republic’s Premysl Kubala and Jan Dumek also made it through pool play, but will have to compete in the first elimination round after they finished second in their pool despite three teams enjoying two wins apiece. 

They wrapped up pool play with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) defeat of Venezuela’s Jesus Villafane and Igor Hernandez.

“All three of us have three victories and the points we lost against Qatar were important,” Kubala said. “The positive thing though is that we beat a very good team from Russia and a very good team from Venezuela. Now we have confidence for the first round.”

Kubala is a familiar face on the Tour. The 40-year-old made his debut in 1996 and competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games with long-term partner Petr Benes.
After Benes retired following the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, Mazury 2013, he linked up with Dumek for the end of the 2013 season. 

“We started with three tournaments at the end of last year,” Kubala added. “At the end of the year we had a big result in Durban when we were fourth and that was done without much training, but now we’ve had some more practice so I hope the results will come.

“I still like winning. I’ve spoken with many players who are the same age as me and they say they play just for fun, but if that happens to me I will stop immediately. For me it is a big motivation to compare my skills against younger players and even if they are faster or stronger I still have my experience, so when I beat them it is a big success for me.” 

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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