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01/12/2018 21:00
Top seeds back on track in Ljubljana
2018 CEV Beach Volleyball Satellite - Ljubljana Winter

Ljubljana, Slovenia, December 1, 2018. The pre-favourites and top seeds of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 1-Star Satellite event in Ljubljana recovered from their shaky start on the opening day of the Main Draw and managed to qualify for the semi-finals after raising their performance to a much higher level.

In only their second participation in a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event, Latvia’s Varvara Brailko and Anete Namiķe won three out of four matches and secured their spot in the semi-finals. The two sixteen-year-old players eliminated Italy’s Jessica Allegretti and Jessica Jenifer Luca in the quarterfinal and now have their first opportunity to win an international senior medal. “Yesterday we played extremely good at first, but the second match was not at the level we wanted. We did not expect we would lose it that way, but today was a new day, and we managed to get ourselves ready for the matches. We did what we needed to do to play our game. This is our second FIVB tournament and we are happy we made it to the semi-finals. There will be some pressure on us tomorrow, but we will try to play our best,” Namike said.

Their opponents will be Lithuania’s rising stars Urte Andriukaityte and Vytene Vitkauskaite, who had two convincing days in Ljubljana. “It is difficult to make any predictions for the playoff, we just have to hit the court and do our best every time. We do not like to make any prediction about the eventual result. We will just make sure to give our best every time we step onto the court. A medal or not, it really does not matter,” Andriukaityte admitted.

Maryna Samoday of Ukraine in action at the Ljubljana Winter 1-Star tournament.

Greece’s Panagiota Karagkouni and Vasiliki Arvaniti are obviously determined to make their comeback spotless, as they did not leave much chance to Denmark’s Helle Søndergård and Clara Windeleff. First-seeded Maryna Samoday and Diana Lunina of Ukraine performed on a high level in their quarterfinal match against home favourites Ana Skarlovnik and Nina Lovšin and upset the home crowd. “It was hard, both girls were good and we did not even know who to serve on. I respect the girls, it was a tough match and this time we won. The thing that decided the match to our advantage was our aggressiveness and working hard for every point,” Samoday, who does not hide her ambition to win the tournament, commented before adding: “I am pretty sure we can win, we just have to work hard. We already know the opponents and we know their weaknesses, but on the other hand, they know ours. We will try to give our best.”

In the men’s competition, Turkey’s Selçuk Sekerci and Safa Urlu silenced the local crowd after winning the second set thriller against Slovenia’s idols Vid Jakopin and Jure Peter Bedrač. “It was a very tough match and this is also our first tournament together. I did not play any highly competitive tournaments like this for the last two years, so we are very happy with the win. In the first set, we played very well. It was the third game of the day already for the Slovenians, therefore they were quite tired, I think. In the second set, they served very well and I made some mistakes in reception, so we made our lives more difficult. We are enjoying the tournament, it is nice to be here and we need to take some points for the rankings, so being in the semi-finals is a good thing for us. We want to play in the final, so we will try to win tomorrow,” Sekerci said.

Selcuk Sekerci and Safa Urlu of Turkey celebrate their qualification for the semis in Ljubljana.

Australia’s Maximilian Guehrer explained how Paul Burnett and he could proceed to the semi-finals as they defeated Alexey Kuleshov/Artem Petrossyants from Kazakhstan. “At the beginning of the first set we were really on our side out, got some defensive points but then just about halfway through we dropped a few and just couldn’t quite hold on, so we eventually dropped that set. In the second set, we did a switch up at 19-all, served the other guy, got a couple of points and then just ran with the momentum through the rest of the game. We made a couple of little defensive adjustments and Paul did some great digs, so it was really a team effort. In the semis we just want to focus on ourselves, make sure we are on our side out, we know that defensively we will make some points for ourselves, so as long as we side out, it is going to be a good game.”

Other teams winning their quarterfinal matches were top-seeded Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka from Belarus and Germany’s Robin Sowa and Eric Stadie.

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News nr. 120 of 3338
02/12/2018 20:00:00
Back from USA, Maryna continues Samoday family’s success story in Ljubljana
01/12/2018 19:00:00
After achieving success on snow, Lithuanian girls aim high on sand too
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