Lithuanians, Latvians, Greeks, Ukrainians advance to Ljubljana women’s semis

Ljubljana, Slovenia, December 1, 2018 – Pairs from Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine progressed to the women’s semifinals at the Ljubljana winter edition one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Both semis on Sunday will present a chance to teams that lost their pool finals to take revenge from the very same opponents that beat them.

Vytene Vitkauskaite and Urte Andriukaityte, who started the elimination phase directly from the quarterfinals, managed to advance further to the semis with a straight-set win. However, it was not an easy cruise for the second-seeded Lithuanians, as their Belgian opponents Sarah Cools and Lisa Van Den Vonder drove the second set deep into overtime, before Vitkauskaite and Andriukaityte could celebrate with a 2-0 (21-18, 25-23) victory.

“Vytene and I always feel kind of happy while playing. That's the only reason we actually play in general. Of course we felt a bit of tension because we kind of easily won the pool games and it was hard to play against a tougher opponent. But I am super glad how my partner played this game and that we, for the first time ever, reached the semifinals. Courage and the way we enjoy volleyball is what decided this game for us,” Andriukaityte said.

Latvia’s Varvara Brailko and Anete Namike, seeded seventh in the main draw bracket, who had lost to the Lithuanians in the pool stage, had to deal with the resistance of Poland’s Kinga Legieta and Aneta Kaczmarek before getting to the quarterfinals. They mastered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) win over the Poles and followed up with another shutout to qualify for the semis – 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) over Italian qualifiers Jessica Jenifer Luca and Jessica Allegretti.

In Sunday’s first semifinal, at 10:00 local time, Vitkauskaite and Andriukaityte will meet Brailko and Namike for the second time at this tournament.

“We played against them in our pool, so it will be very hard to play against the same team again,” Andriukaityte added. “But we will try to do our best and that's it. The best thing about everything is that we can play two more matches tomorrow."

Two teams that already met in their pool will face each other again in the semifinal. At 11:00 on Sunday, Greece’s Panagiota Karagkouni and Vasiliki Arvaniti will battle it out with Ukraine’s Diana Lunina and Maryna Samoday for the other vacancy in the gold medal match.

Eighth-seeded Karagkouni and Arvaniti were quick to dismiss Denmark’s Helle Sondergard and Clara Windeleff and cruised to an emphatic 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) shutout in their quarterfinal clash.

The top-seeded Ukrainians lost to the Greeks in a three-setter match to finish second in Pool A, so on Saturday they had two opponents to tackle. In both games they disappointed the home fans by moving Slovenian teams out of their way to the semis. First, they managed a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win over Katarina Bulc and Nina Zdesar. Then, they claimed a 2-0 (21-14, 22-20) victory over fourth-seeded Nina Lovsin and Ana Skarlovnik.

“It was hard! Both girls were good, so we didn't even know who to serve on,” Samoday commented upon defeating Lovsin and Skarlovnik. “It was a tough match for both sides and this time we won. The thing that decided the game to our advantage was our aggressiveness and working for every point. I am pretty sure we can win against the Greek pair. We just have to work hard. We already know the opponents and we know about their weaknesses, but they also know ours. We'll try our best. To be honest, we love playing in Ljubljana. We already played here in the summer and every time we come here we love it! It's beautiful, the courts are nice and the organization is good."

The duel for the bronze on Sunday is set to start at 14:15. The grand final for the title is scheduled for 16:45.


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