19.07.2020 - Vienna, Austria
It’s currently the biggest matchup of Latvian beach volleyball and, arguably, the fieriest one in the country’s history in the sport. And it happened again this Sunday, between Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs, in front of hundreds of fans at the Marjori Beach, in Jurmala.
It was the final of the second tournament of the 2020 Latvian Tour and the experienced Samoilovs and Smedins came out on top with a 21-14, 25-27, 15-10 triumph that granted them their second gold in the national season after their triumph as the opening tournament in Ventspils two weeks ago.
“We almost felt like we needed to play all three sets because of the fans,” Samoilovs said at the end. “We wanted to please those who came out to see us play and I’m very happy they had a great time and enjoyed a very good match with a lot of digs and fantastic plays.”
The bronze medal match was also decided in three sets and it reunited two Lithuanian duos with Patrikas Stankevicius and Audrius Knausas topping Artur Vasiljev and Robert Juchnevic 21-23, 21-16, 17-15.
Among the women, reigning European champions Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka lived up to the favorite status and claimed the title with a 21-18, 21-10 victory over Lithuanians Ieva Dumbauskaite and Gerda Grudzinskaite.
“Anastasija was serving so well that I basically just watched it from the net,” Tina said of her partner’s performance. “The Lithuanians kind of surprised us a little bit, but it was nice to see that we could play even better.”
Varvara Brailko and Anete Namike, who are both 17, stepped on the podium in third place after they downed Estonians Helena Hollas and Lisa Somets in three sets (20-22, 21-16, 15-8).
The third tournament of the Latvian national season will be played next week, from July 23-25, in Saulkrasti, where only the men are going to play.