2019-08-18 20:36:00 CEST

First World Tour gold for Team Joanouk

Swiss Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré could finally celebrate a title together in Moscow

Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich pose with their first World Tour gold medals (Photocredit: FIVB)Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich pose with their first World Tour gold medals (Photocredit: FIVB)

The moment Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré have been waiting for since they joined forces in 2017 has finally arrived as the Swiss stars celebrated their first World Tour gold medal as a team as they triumphed at the four-star tournament in Moscow. Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins won the men’s event at the Russian capital.

The 27-year-old Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré, who had both topped World Tour podiums before with former partners, managed to it together in their 26th international tournament as a team after they downed Brazilian veterans Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima 21-18, 16-21, 15-8 in the gold medal match at the Luzhniki complex.

“We just kept saying we needed to stay calm, stay focused on the game and put any drop of energy that we still had into every single point,” Vergé-Depré said in the end. “We continued believing and I think that was the key. I just want to say thank you to all the people who work with us. I think it’s very important. We had a rough start of the season, but there are a lot of people behind us who are giving everything to make this possible.”

Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat filled the last spot in the podium at the Russian capital after they came out on top of the three-set (24-26, 21-18, 15-10) bronze medal match against Germans Julia Sude and Karla Borger.

Samoilovs and Smedins returned to the top of the podium in Moscow (Photocredit: FIVB)Samoilovs and Smedins returned to the top of the podium in Moscow (Photocredit: FIVB)

In the men’s tournament, Samoilovs and Smedins also secured a much-needed win which will hopefully end what was arguably their worst run of form since they paired up in 2013. The Latvians, who have now won 12 World Tour events together, had just one top-5 finish this season, were recently playing in qualifiers and failed to advance at the Vienna Major just two weeks ago.

In Moscow, they showed their best volleyball to beat Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Álvaro Filho 21-12, 21-16 and win back-to-back titles at the Russian capital.

“It’s been a difficult season for us as we’ve been struggling to get good results, so it was very important for us to get a good finish here in Moscow,” Samoilovs commented. “I injured my shoulder during the semifinal and I wasn’t sure I would be able to play the final when I woke up this morning. But I decided to come out and play and I felt really great out there. We did well in every aspect of the game and I felt that we took a little bit more risk on our serves than the Brazilians and it paid off.”

World Championships silver medalists Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany finished third in Moscow after their bronze medal match opponents Saymon Barbosa and Guto Carvalhaes were forced to forfeit due to injury.

Colombia wins historic gold in Belgium

Andrea and Claudia Galindo won the first Colombian medals in the World Tour (Photocredit: FIVB)Andrea and Claudia Galindo won the first Colombian medals in the World Tour (Photocredit: FIVB)

A women’s team also celebrated a historic gold medal in Knokke-Heist as the Galindo sisters Andrea and Claudia topped Denmark’s Sofia Bisgaard and Cecilie Olsen 21-16, 19-21, 15-10 to win the Belgian one-star event and become the first Colombian team to ever step on the podium at the World Tour. Dutch Raisa Schoon and Emi van Driel finished third.

The men’s tournament was won by French Jeremy Silvestre and Timothee Platre, who downed Russians Alexey Gusev and Pavel Shustrov 21-18, 19-21, 17-15 in the gold medal match. Austrians Mathias Seiser and Maximilian Trummer took bronze.

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