European champs win in home sand

09.08.2020 - Vienna, Austria

Graudina and Kravcenoka were on top at the fourth event of the Latvian Tour

Reigning European champions Tin Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka had no trouble in reinforcing their dominance at the national level this weekend as the rising stars won the fourth event of the 2020 Latvian Tour in Daugavpils.

The 22-year-old Graudina and the 23-year-old Kravcenoka, who are already qualified to the Tokyo Olympics, won all their five matches over the weekend without dropping any sets and secured the top spot of the podium with a 21-18, 21-18 triumph over Lithuanians Ieva Dumbauskaite and Gerda Grudzinskaite. Varvara Brailko and Anete Namiķe finished third.

“We had a tougher match against the Lithuanians in the final than in the other matches,” Kravcenoka, a Daugavpils native, said. “It was good that the fans could enjoy a very competitive match in the final. The tournament was fantastic and I really appreciated it.”

Lithuania got revenge over Latvia in the men’s final with Patriks Stankevicius and Audrjus Knasas downing Mihails Samoilovs and Aleksandrs Solovejs 21-16, 22-20 to take the title. Martins Plavins, who couldn’t play with Edgars Tocs, who got married over the weekend, finished third with Matiss Gabdullins. Aleksandrs Samoilovs paired with Arturs Rinkevics and ended up in fifth place.

The Latvian season will come to an end next week with the National Championship in Cesis.

Favorites upset in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, though, the favorites had to settle for silver as the 2018 European champions Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink were defeated by Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam in straight sets (22-20, 21-19) in Almelo. Emma Piersma and Puk Stubbe finished third.

The winners among the men were Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot, who posted a 21-8, 21-16 victory over Dirk Boehlé and Mart van Werkhoven in the final. Matthew Immers and Leon Luini completed the podium.

Dutch teams will return to the sand next week, in Zaanstad, the final event before the National Championship.

Lehtonen/Ahtiainen wins the Finnish Derby

The Finnish Tour event in Helsinki saw the country’s top teams meet in the women’s and Riikka Lehtonen and Niina  came out on top with a 21-16, 21-16 victory over Taru Lathi and Anniina Parkkinen to take gold.

“It was hard for me to get into a rhythm this week,” Lehtonen explained. “I took a long rest after the last tournament and returned slowly with standing drills. Once my body got better and we got more confidence we got to play better and the last day was the best for us and the final was very good.”

In the men’s event, the title to the Lithuanian duo of Robert Juchnevic and Artur Vasiljev, who upset the home favorites Jyrki Nurminen and Santeri Sirén 21-16, 21-18 to finish on top.

The Finnish Tour Finals are set for next week in Tampere.