Prokopiev and Leshukov win Country Quota in Anapa
2014 CEV Beach Volleyball Satellite - Anapa
Anapa, Russia, January 15, 2014. The CEV indoor Satellite tournament in Anapa got underway on Wednesday with the men’s Country Quota matches with participation of seven Russian pairs who were fighting for a spot to make it to the qualification which is set to start on Thursday.
As they were the top-seeded duo in the Country Quota, Alexey Pastukhov and Grigory Goncharov got a bye in the first-round while all other teams had to play three matches if they wanted to seize that much desired ticket to the qualification.
The local guys from Anapa – Viacheslav Kirienko and Andrey Bolgov – opened the program easily claiming the opening set (21-19) of their game with Pavel Karpukhin/Anton Safonov and were also leading in the second set before they lost control of the operations and their opponents fought back to draw level (22-24). The score was initially very close in the tie-break but Kirienko and Bolgov were able to break away and seize the victory (15-6).
After that Kirienko and Bolgov sensationally made it to the last round of the Country Quota beating the much more experienced Pastukhov/Goncharov at the tie-break as well (22-20, 19-21, and 18-16). This match was probably the tensest game of the day as every set was extremely close.
Ruslan Dayanov and Alexander Likholetov were leading 9:5 in the opening set of their 1/4 final game when Maxim Zhirkov crashed into the advertising boards trying to catch the ball and injuring his elbow. After 5 minutes of medical time-out and consultation with the doctors, Zhirkov and his partner Ostap Firsov decided to withdraw.
Sergey Prokopiev and 18-year old Ilya Leshukov literally routed Ivan Chirkin and Ilya Markin in the first set of their 1/4 final match. Chirkin and Markin could not find a way to stop the powerful spikes killed by Prokopiev who seemed to be in great shape already that early in the season. In the second set Chirkin and Markin started serving on the rather inexperienced Leshukov and could keep the score close up to 12 all before Prokopiev took his young partner by the hand to cruise to a well-deserved 2:0 victory (21-16).
The match starring Dayanov/Likholetov and Prokopiev/Leshukov turned into some kind of a duel opposing Prokopiev to another strong spiker and blocker, Alexander Likholetov. However, none could impose his rule and therefore the game was extremely close. Youngster Leshukov did a good job in defense and from time to time even spiked successfully to contribute to the final 21-17, 21-12 victory.
The last game of the day did see Kirienko/Bolgov from the Krasnodar Region play Prokopiev and Leshukov. Prokopiev/Leshukov easily claimed the opening set (21-15) but the second turned into a much closer affair. Kirienko – who last year had won bronze at the U20 European Championship together with Dmitry Uraikin – and Bolgov changed their pace and could dictate the rhythm of the game before Prokopiev and Leshukov had the upper hand in the end (22-20).
Actually since they top the entry lists for the qualification, Prokopiev and Leshukov advance directly to the Main Draw starting on Friday; the same privilege got Germany’s Philipp Arne Bergmann and Malte Stiel. Another 12 teams will be playing on Thursday for the remaining six spots available in the Main Draw. The Country Quota for the women’s tournament was cancelled and all seven teams were moved straight to the Main Draw starting on Friday.
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