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16/12/2017 09:31
Hot matches in cold Moscow as Main Draw of EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour Final kicks off
News from the Zonal Associations

Moscow, Russia, December 15, 2017. The Main Draw matches of the 2017 EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour Final started on Friday at the indoor beach sports complex “Leto” in the Russian capital. As many as 16 men’s and 14 women’s teams began their tough journey towards the medal matches. Despite a break in official competitions that all the teams had endured before this event, the first rounds of matches were very exciting and the crowd that filled out the stands had a lot of fun on Friday evening.

Unfortunately, London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Martins Plavins from Latvia had to withdraw from the tournament. Due to some travel problems, his partner Edgars Tocs could not be in Moscow in time. However, the organisers still found a way to deliver a small show and made a gift to the audience that came to watch Plavins in action - Martins took to the court together with well-known Russian Beach Volleyball player Alexander Samoshkin, who won some medals from the Russian national tour and participated in international competitions during his career. The international Russian-Latvian duo played two unofficial matches against teams from Ukraine and Russia. Plavins/Samoshkin managed to win both. It is interesting to notice that in the second match they beat the silver medallists from the 2017 FIVB U21 World Championship, Vasilii Ivanov and Aleksandr Kramarenko.

Another player who attracted a lot of attention was Konstantin Semenov from Russia, the man who last year played in the semi-final of the Olympics in Rio together with Viacheslav Krasilnikov. After the Olympics, Semenov signed a contract with a Russian indoor Volleyball club and took more than a one-year-long break from Beach Volleyball before coming to the sand at the EEVZA Final. The comeback worked out pretty well - two victories for Semenov and partner Ilya Leshukov including a good win over the top-seeded team of the event, Maksim Khudyakov and Ruslan Bykanov from Russia. After completion of the first rounds, Beach Volleyball fans in Moscow knew they would see at least one foreign team in the semis, since Kostyantyn Medyanyk/Eduard Reznik from Ukraine are due to face Estonia’s Kusti Nõlvak/Mart Tiisaar in the third round on Saturday. Semenov/Leshukov will fight for a place in the semis against their compatriots Ruslan Dayanov and Taras Myskiv.

The women’s competition did not bring any sensations so far. The two main favourites have been marching on easily. Reigning U18 and U20 European champions Mariia Bocharova/Maria Voronina and Ekaterina Birlova/Elizaveta Novikova had a bye in the first round and got an easy 2-0 victory in the second one. In order to book a ticket to the semi-finals, the pre-favourites of the tournament will nevertheless have to work hard on Saturday – Bocharova/Voronina will play against a team from Lithuania, Irina Zobnina/Urte Andriukaityte while Birlova/Novikova will meet compatriots Ekaterina Syrtseva/Daria Rudykh.

Saturday’s matches will determine the eventual semi-finalists.

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