Vienna, Austria, July 30, 2017 - The 2017 season has been an up-and-down campaign for Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins and the second-seeded Latvians are hoping their play at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 will be trending upwards.
Entering the 11th edition of the World Championships, the Latvians had placed 17th in their previous two FIVB World Tour events in Switzerland and Poland as Samoilovs and Smedins had been defeated in six of their last eight matches to drop their FIVB match mark to 13-13 prior to their first Vienna match on Friday.
A 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) Pool B win in 39 minutes here Sunday mid-day over 26th-seeded Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen was an encouraging sign for Samoilovs and Smedins as the German pair captured the gold medal at the last FIVB World Tour event in Poland where the Latvians finished 17th after winning only once in three Olsztyn matches.
Sunday’s win was the second of the World Championships for the Latvians after opening play Friday with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-11) win in 33 minutes over 47th-seeded South American Jhonatan Golindano/Carlos Rangel of Venezuela. Samoilovs and Smedins conclude Pool B action Tuesday against 23rd-seeded Asian qualifiers Jefferson Santos Pereira/Cherif Younousse of Qatar.
“The goal is to play each match like the last one, we are only focused on the next match,” said Smedins, who will celebrate his 30th birthday Monday. “We are not looking at any other matches, we are just preparing for this one, that is all. We played a little bit better with the service today, and they didn’t move their legs as good. It wasn’t a bunch of aces, but serves in different directions. Alex had some good blocks and dug one or two balls on defense.”
Sunday’s schedule at the $1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 features 28 pool play matches on three courts at the state-of-the art venue at Donauinsel with the focal point of the action and entertainment being held with a picturesque view of the Danube River and the lively atmosphere of the Beach Village.
A total of 216-matches will be played over a 10-day period at the World Championships where the winning men’s and women’s teams will each split the $60,000 first-place prizes. The women’s medal matches will be played on August 5 and the men’s on August 6. With 96 teams from 40 countries in the competition, pool play will highlight the first six days of play with the featured court being the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.
Here are Sunday's early results: