Lion King roars in Latvian Tour opener

06.07.2020 - Vienna, Austria

Alongside Janis Smedins, Latvian star Alesksandrs Samoilovs triumphed this weekend in Ventspils

International beach volleyball stars Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins had a triumphant weekend in Ventspils as the duo prevailed in the opening event of the 2020 Latvian Tour. Reigning European champions Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina were the best among the women.

The Lion King Samoilovs and the London 2012 Olympic medalist Smedins ended the week on top following their 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) victory over Lithuanians Patrikas Stankevicius and Audrius Knasas in the gold medal match. Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins, who form the top Latvian team in the world ranking and are already qualified to the Tokyo Olympics, finished third in the tournament.

Reigning European champions Kravcenoka and Graudina, who are also guaranteed in the next Olympics, dominated the women’s tournament and took the gold medal with a 21-18, 26-24 win over 17-year-olds Varvara Brailko and Anete Namiko. Estonians Helena Hollas and Lisa Somets got bronze.

The second event of the Latvian Tour will happen from July 17-19 in Jurmala.

Austrian Champions Cup Finals set

The weekend also shaped the final stage of the Austrian Champions Cup, which will happen on July 11, in Vienna. After the semifinal phase played in the Austrian capital and Graz, four teams in each gender remain in contention for the title.

The semifinal round started on Saturday, in Graz, where the first two teams in each gender advanced. Christoph Dressler/Alexander Huber, with three wins in three matches, and Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, who won twice, were the qualified among the men while Julia Radl/Anja Dörfler, who also won all their three matches, and Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss, with a 2-1 record, prevailed in women’s event.

The semifinal phase in Vienna on Sunday saw two other teams in each gender move forward. Among the women, the undefeated Franziska Friedl and Eva Pfeffer were joined by Dorina Klinger and Norwegian Oda Ulveseth, who won two matches. Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller also advanced with a perfect record among the men while Tobias Winter and Julian Hörl survived with a pair of wins.

The semifinals next Saturday will have Dressler/Huber x Winter/Hörl and Seidl/Waller x Doppler/Horst for the men and Radl/Dörfler x Klinger/Ulveseth and Strauss/Strauss x Friedl/Pfeffer in the women’s event.

Lahti/Parkkinen gets revenge in Finland

The Finnish Tour had the second event of its season this weekend in Kouvola and it tasted like revenge for Taru Lahti and Anniina Parkkinen. After losing the opening tournament of the country’s tour to Riikka Lehtonen and Niina Ahtiainen three weeks ago, the World Tour regulars bounced back and secured the title with a 17-21, 21-19, 15-12 victory over the training partners and rivals.

The men’s tournament saw the dominance of Jyrki Nurminen and Santeri Siren in their home sand continue. The team has won the last nine tournaments of the Finnish Tour and 40 of its 41 most recent matches. The latest one was the 21-16, 21-11 triumph over Pekka Piippo and Pyry Topio in the gold medal match in Kouvola.

The season continues from July 17-19 in Vantaa.

Finalists set for the Die Beach Liga

The Die Beach Liga in Germany enters its final week on Monday and the four women’s teams set to compete for the title in Düsseldorf are already known. Karla Borger/Svenja Müller, Leonie Körtzinger/Sarah Schneider, Kim Behrens/Cinja Tillmann and Melanie Gernert/Sarah Schulz finished in the top four positions in the regular season and will continue their chase for the gold medals.