Porec, Croatia, July 7, 2018 – Seven men’s and women’s teams from five European countries will be seeking gold medals here Sunday along with an American women’s pair as the lineup for the “final four” rounds at Porec Open was confirmed Saturday after the final elimination matches.
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The men had the busiest day Saturday at the Porec Open after playing their final pool play matches in the morning followed by two rounds of elimination where two Latvian teams were joined in Sunday’s schedule by tandems from Austria and the Ukraine.
The women only played two rounds of elimination Saturday with teams from Greece, Turkey, the Ukraine and the United States advancing to Sunday’s semi-final and medal matches as the Porec Open is one of three FIVB World Tour events being staged this week.
With the international Beach Volleyball circuit returning to the Croatian resort town for the fourth-straight season with the teams vying for a share of the 10,000 EUR in prize money, Latvian men’s teams of fifth-seeded Mihails Samoilovs/Kristaps Smits and sixth-seeded Haralds Regza/Toms Smedins are on the opposite side of the bracket.
Regza and Smedins meet top-seeded Simon Fruhbauer/Jorg Wutzl of Austria in Sunday’s first men’s semi-final followed by Samoilovs/Smits match against ninth-seeded Vladyslav Iemelianchyk/Sergiy Popov of the Ukraine. The Latvians and the Ukrainians are playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour semi-finals while Fruhbauer and Wutzl will be seeking their second international gold medal this season after topping the Langkawi Open podium April 29 in Malaysia.
In the women’s competition, third-seeded Inna Makhno/Iryna Makhno of the Ukraine plays fifth-seeded Merve Nezir/Aleyna Vence of Turkey in the first-semi-final while 14th-seeded qualifiers Emily Sonny/Torrey Van Winden of the United States challenge seventh-seeded Dimitra Manavi/ Konstantina Tsopoulou of Greece.
Excitement for Americans Torrey Van Winden (left) and Emily Sonny after winning their fifth Porec Open match Saturday.
Nezir and Vence are the only team with a “final four” participation on their record after the Turkish pair placed fourth June 23 on their “home sand” at the Manavgat Open. Sonny and Van Winden are unbeaten in five matches this week after the Americans had to qualify for the Porec Open Main Draw Wednesday.
The Porec Open is the sixth of nine events incorporated from the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) schedule into the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for the 2017-2018 season. At the same time as the Porec Open is being staged, the CEV and FIVB will also be organizing the Anapa Open in Russia.
Turkey staged three of the first four events in Aydin (May 17-20), Alanya (May 31-June 3) and Manavgat, Turkey (June 21-24) with Austria hosting a tournament in Baden (June 14-17). Remaining CEV events being incorporated into the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour schedule are Samsun, Turkey (July 26-29), Ljubljana, Slovenia (August 3-5), and Vaduz, Liechtenstein (August 8-12).