Moscow, Russia, August 11, 2018 – Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins had to dig deep and find their very best form to beat Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko and make it through the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow 4-Star tournament semifinals on Saturday.
The Latvians had to ignore a fiercely partisan Moscow crowd, and shrug off two missed match points to win 2-1 (22-20, 12-21, 20-18), all while fighting through the blazing Moscow sun.
They will now play Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Andre Loyola Stein in the final on Sunday after they defeated compatriots Evandro Goncalves and Vitor Felipe 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-11).
“It was good because the Russian guys are very good friends and we know they can play very good volleyball,” Smedins said. “We knew we had to play to our maximum if we wanted to beat them and that is what we tried to do.
“It didn’t happen a lot in the second set, but we wanted to play and by the end of the second set we did that and that is why we were so happy.”
Samoilovs and Smedins have been in impressive form over the summer period and they have booked their place at the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals.
This year they have won gold at the Espinho 4-Star, silver at the CEV European Championships and bronze at the Fort Lauderdale 5-Star and Warsaw 4-Star.
“It came from the winter time, in the off-season when we were practicing 15 times a week,” Samoilovs said. “This is the basis for the season and we’ve kept our shape in the summer and I hope we keep it for the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.”
Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic champion Alison, and Andre have only been playing together since June and Moscow is their sixth World Tour tournament in tandem.
Andre succeeded Alison as world champion when he and Evandro won gold at Austria 2017. Andre and Evandro also won their final World Tour tournament as a pair, the Itapema 4-Star in May.
“We are a new team and I’m with a younger partner, so it is a very important time and he is like a younger brother to me,” Alison said.
“It is always amazing when you play Brazil v Brazil. They are very strong and we had to maintain our concentration.”
As well as his Olympic gold, Alison is also a double world champion having won in 2011 with Emanuel Rego, in 2015 with Bruno Schmidt.
The Moscow 4-Star is the last 4-Star tournament in the 2017-18 season, and runs from August 8-12. The final tournament to take place is the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals that run from August 15-19.