16.08.2020 - Vienna, Austria
Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins secured their fourth national title as the Olympic veterans won the 2020 edition of the Latvian Championship in Cesis. Reigning European champions Tina Gradina and Anastasija Kravcenoka were the winners among the women, claiming their third national triumph.
Partners since 2013, the 35-year-old Samoilovs and the 33-year-old Smedins survived a tough situation during the gold medal match as after losing the first set 21-9 to training rivals Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins, the veterans bounced back to take the Latvian Derby and the tournament by winning the next two sets 21-15, 15-11.
“It doesn’t matter how badly you lose the first set, the second will always start 0-0,” Samoilovs reflected. “Janis was a little nervous in the beginning, but he calmed down in the second set and then we could play our game.”
Aleksandrs’ younger brother Mihails and his partner Aleksandrs Solovejs finished third after they defeated Ardis Daniels Bedritis and Arnis Reliņs 21-13, 21-19.
The women’s tournament saw Graudina, 22, and Kravcenoka, 23, win their third national title after victories in 2017 and 2019. The rising stars needed little effort to dominate Kristine Briedis and Krista Paegli to a 21-12, 21-10 victory in the gold medal match and complete their national season in fantastic form as they won all matches they played in three tournaments without dropping a single set along the way.
Finished Latvian championship with gold 🥇! In 3 tours and final we were unbeatable. Without losing any set. It wasn’t easy. I am proud that our team concentrated and fought for each and every ball❤️ Good job @graudinatina 💪🏻❤️ We keep working for European Championship in Jurmala with our team @andris.krumins.37 @msamoilovs @andriseikens
“We played a great tournament this weekend,” Graudina commented. “In none of our matches we allowed our opponents to score more than 14 points, so that shows how solid we were.”
Marta Ozolina and Luize Skrastiņa claimed bronze following their 22-24, 21-19, 15-12 victory over second-seeded Anete Namike and Varvara Brailko.
Lehtonen/Athiainen and Siren/Nurminen win the Finnish Championships
Finland also had its National Championships happening this weekend and the event in Tampere crowned Riikka Lehtonen/Niina Athiainen and Santeri Siren/Jyrki Nurminen as the country’s champions.
The 41-year-old Lehtonen and the 23-year-old Athiainen had an outstanding performance in the gold medal match, where they downed Taru Lahti and Anniina Parkkinen in straight sets (21-8, 21-12). Aliisa Vuorinen and Valma Prihti took bronze.
In the men’s final, the 24-year-old Siren and the 29-year-old Nurminen confirmed the supremacy they had in the entire season by claiming the national title with a 21-15, 21-9 victory over Pekka Piippo and Pyry Topio. Teppo Pulkkinen and Jaakko Keskitalo were third.