Jurmala, Latvia, August 24, 2019 - Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins storm into their second final four in as many weeks at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Jurmala 3-Star. The Latvians have continued their momentum following Moscow 4-Star gold last week, proving unstoppable in Jurmala.
“Our season wasn’t good so far until Moscow and then in Moscow, something finally happened and we found our rhythm and we just continue rolling,” said Samoilovs.
Samoilovs/Smedins took two straight sets wins to earn their semifinal position, first defeating Turkey’s Safa Urlu/Selçuk Sekerci, 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) and then French team Quincy Aye/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat, 2-0 (21-15, 21-13).
“We had really good side-out, so this was the key. I think we had more than 95% side-out and we served pretty aggressively, they struggled a little bit with reception and then we had a chance to get some balls in defence and block a few balls. Also the supporters cheering for us, I think it was a tough match for them,” said Samoilovs.
Aleksandrs Samoilovs (LAT) during the Jurmala quarterfinal
Samoilovs/Smedins have been playing to packed crowds in Jurmala, at Latvia’s first FIVB tournament.
“All these people they love us and I love them and even if we lose, I know everyone will be happy that we bring this beach volleyball party here to Jurmala and I’m really proud of the city, that such a small city can have such big events and I believe in the future they will have even bigger tournaments,” said Samoilovs.
Samoilovs/Smedins will now face Germany’s Armin Dollinger/Eric Stadie in the semifinal. Dollinger/Stadie defeated fellow Germans Jonathan Erdmann/Sven Winter in their quarterfinal, 2-0 (21-19, 21-18). Dollinger and Stadie, who have only paired up for this tournament, have certainly developed quickly as a team.
Germany's Sven Winter and Armin Dollinger (yellow)
The second semi-final is a first for both teams. Belarus team Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Pavel Piatrushka and Kusti Nõlvak/Mart Tiisaar from Estonia reach their first FIVB 3-Star semifinal.
Dziadkou/Piatrushka dug deep against USA’s Casey Patterson/Chase Budinger to turn their quarterfinal around in a fierce battle, 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-13).
“We’re feeling amazing, it’s a good tournament, good organisation and we are playing unbelievable. We have never played in a semifinal in a 3-Star tournament, so it’s great. The last match was difficult conditions with the weather as the sun was very low in the sky and affected our vision,” said Dziadkou.
Aliaksandr Dziadkou (BLR) at the net against USA’s Chase Budinger
Kusti Nõlvak/Mart Tiisaar from Estonia faced USA’s Stafford Slick/William Allen in the quarterfinal. Slick/Allen were responsible for knocking out number one seeds, locals Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs in round two of single elimination earlier in the day, 2-0 (25-23, 21-13).
But the Estonian team has been on fine form in Jurmala and adopted by the local crowds, they beat Slick/Allen, 2-1 (16-21, 21-16, 15-8).
“This is the first time ever for us in a 3-Star and especially in front of the ‘almost’ home crowd, so it feels amazing,” said Tiisaar.
Stafford Slick (USA) and Mart Tiisaar (EST)
“It was a tough match, they started really strong and we were just a little bit shaky in the beginning and made a couple of mistakes, but we told each other that let’s just hang in there, let’s suffer it, keep pushing, keep ourselves in the match and we did. We improved our sideout, we improved our block defence and finally we were able to break them,” said Tiisaar.
“The important thing is that we are enjoying it. This game was amazing, we both played well, some really good long rallies, some really nice hits and the crowd was really behind us, so it was a good energy on the court,” said Nõlvak.
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