FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Moscow Grand Slam 2016 | 24 - 29 mai 2016


Press release

Kotsilianos/Zoupanis let the good times roll in Moscow

Greece's Nikos Zoupani (right) hits at the Moscow Grand Slam net Tuesday against Paolo Ingrosso of Italy

Moscow, Russia, May 24, 2016 - For Georgios Kotsilianos and Nikos Zoupanis, the “good times” continue as the Greek pair qualified for only the second time for a FIVB World Tour Grand Slam or SWATCH Major Main Draw by winning two matches here Tuesday at the US$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam.

Prior to their wins over teams from Belarus and Italy Tuesday, Kotsilianos and Zoupanis had played in only one “money” round at a “big” FIVB World Tour event in 16 attempts where their qualifying mark was a dismal 5-15.  The only previous success was at the 2013 Moscow Grand Slam where the Greeks advanced from the qualifier, but placed 25th in the competition.

In earning one of the eight qualifying spots for the 32-team Main Draw competition that begins Wednesday for both men and women at the Slam at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, Kotsilianos and Zoupanis’ play helped validate their performance two weeks ago in Turkey where the Greeks placed fourth in the Antalya Open.

Although Kotsilianos and Zoupanis dropped their final two matches in Turkey to teams from Germany and Poland, it marked the first-time that a Greek men’s team had advanced to a FIVB World Tour semi-final since the start of the international circuit in 1987.

Seeded 12th in the Moscow qualifier, Kotsilianos and Zoupanis posted wins Tuesday over 21st-seeded Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Aliaksandr Kavalenka of Belarus 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) in 32 minutes and 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in 33 minutes over the fifth-seeded Ingrosso twins (Matteo and Paolo) of Italy.

Both wins were satisfying for the Greeks as Kotsilianos and Zoupanis had previously lost to both teams in the only other meetings with the Belarus and Italian pairs.  The Ingrossos defeated the Greeks at a 2014 “open” event in Qatar while Dziadkou and Kavalenka won a qualifying match over Kotsilianos and Zoupanis last August at the Olsztyn Grand Slam in Poland.

Joining Kotsilianos and Zoupanis with qualifying successes Tuesday were two teams from Latvia - ninth-seeded Martin Plavins/Haralds Regza and 19th-seeded Rihards Finsters/Edgars Tocs.  Other qualifiers were top-seeded Youssef Krou/Edouard Rowlandson of France, second-seeded Isaac Kapa/Christopher McHugh of Australia, fourth-seeded Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland, seventh-seeded Andre Loyola/Ricardo Santos of Brazil and 11th-seeded Sebastian Fuchs/Stefan Windscheif of Germany.

Plavins, a bronze medal winner at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Janis Smedins, and Regza were the first Latvian pair to advance with victories over teams from Ukraine and Brazil.  Plavins and Regna’s 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win in 30 minutes ousted eighth-seeded Saymon Barbosa and Gustavo Carvalhaes of Brazil, who won the last FIVB World Tour stop in the United States at Cincinnati, Ohio.

Finsters and Tocs posted a pair of qualifying seed-break-throughs by eliminating 14th-seeded Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak of Poland 2-1 (21-19, 11-21, 15-11) in 41 minutes and the third-seeded Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco) of Chile 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-12) in 43 minutes.
Latvian's Edgars Tocs and Rihards Finsters

In one of the oddities of the sport, the legendary Ricardo was playing in his fifth event this season with his fifth different partner.  With long-time partner Emanuel Rego retiring at March’s Rio Grand Slam, Ricardo has also teamed with Harley Marques (Maceio) Alvaro Filho (Vitoria) and Allison Cittadin (Fortaleza) at other FIVB events in Brazil.
Ricardo Santos of Brazil

The Moscow Grand Slam also features women’s competition where Main Draw pool play will be featured both Wednesday and Thursday with elimination matches Friday and Saturday to set the lineup for Sunday’s medal matches.  The winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.

Quick links
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow Grand Slam
Men - Entry List
Women - Entry List
Men - Event Schedule
Women - Event Schedule

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