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01/09/2013 20:00
Russian top duos seize gold at EEVZA Tour Finals
News from the Zonal Associations

Moscow, Russia, September 1, 2013. The bad weather conditions and the heavy rain that had poured down all night long did oblige the organizers of the EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour Finals in Moscow to adjust their schedule and program for the final day. The centre court was flooded and therefore the semifinal and final matches were played on the side courts set up at Vodniy stadium with many fans who got together to follow the last stage of the tournament. It was worth it for the Russian pairs swept five out of six medals at stake with Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Evgenia Ukolova/Ekaterina Khomyakova living up to their status of pre-favorites to win gold in the end.   
In the women’s semifinals second-seeded Maria Prokopieva and Svetlana Popova got their revenge from compatriots Ekaterina Syrtseva and Alexandra Moiseeva after losing last week in the 1/8 finals of the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam. Prokopieva/Popova cruised past in straight sets (11-7, 11-7, 11-5) while Ukolova/Khomyakova did the same to edge Olga Motrich/Irina Chaika (11-6, 11-8, 11-5).
The women’s final turned into a much contested match where Prokopieva/Popova played their best to stand a chance against their more decorated compatriots. Ukolova/Khomyakova won set 1 and 2 (11-8, 11-9) before Prokopieva/Popova pulled together to stretch the game to a fourth set (10-12). Still that was all for Ukolova/Khomyakova got back control of the game to win set 4 by 11-7 and celebrate their third home triumph of the year after finishing first at the Summer Universiade in Kazan and at the FIVB Open in Anapa.
“I am very pleased with this result and with the way we ended the Russian season” Ukolova said. “Of course we still have memories from our disappointing run at the Moscow Grand Slam but we want to clean up our minds and forget this experience as quickly as possible thereby leaving the disappointment behind us. Today it was not that easy; it was cold, some rain poured down and we also had to adjust to a different scoring system with sets only up to 11 points. However, we have been able to stand all this and ended up winning gold. We have to thank all the fans who have come here to support us challenging the weather. Even though today it was cold, it is always nice to play at home and it warms our hearts up”.
Motrich/Chaika, winners of this year’s first stop of the EEVZA Tour in Lithuania, settled for bronze as they beat Syrtseva/Moiseeva 3:1 (18-20, 11-8, 11-9, and 13-11).  

The first and second-seeded pair of the tournament did star also in the men’s final which hence turned into another all-Russian affair with Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov playing their countrymen Dmitry Barsouk and Yaroslav Koshkarev who had edged their opponents in the semis in straight sets. Semenov/Krasilnikov (pictured) eventually confirmed their status as Russia’s strongest pair right now as they beat Barsouk/Koshkarev 3:1 in the final (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, and 11-9). In the bronze medal game, Estonia’s Rivo Vesik and Kristo Kollo started out strong winning set 1 and 2 (11-9, 11-6) but 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Martins Plavins and his partner Aleksandrs Solovejs of Latvia fought their way back to claim the three sets that followed (12-10, 11-7, and 11-5) to settle for third place.  

The winners of the EEVZA Tour Finals travel home with 3,000 € and 280 FIVB Ranking Points.  

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