Smedins and Samoilovs win Espinho Open – First 4-star gold for Artacho and Clancy
Janis Smedins and “Lion King” Aleksandrs Samoilovs claimed their 10th World Tour gold at the FIVB 4-star event in Espinho (Portugal). In a thrilling and superb final against Brazilians Ricardo/Guto, the Latvians easily won the first set. But the longer the match lasted, the better Brazilian beach volleyball legend Ricardo Santos (43) and his young partner Guto (24) played. In the second set, Ricardo’s experience and his blocks secured the set for the Brazilians. Several service errors on both sides showed increasing pressure in the tie-break. The Brazilians, who had to go all the way through country quota and qualification matches, fought furiously but couldn’t make use of five match points. The Latvians finally won the tie-break 22:20 to claim their first gold this season. Aleksandrs Samoilovs honoring his opponents:
“Ricardo is a legend. And Ricardo is Ricardo. He doesn’t need introduction. And Guto was fighting in the defense like Superman, touching every ball. In the end we had little bit more luck.”
In the semifinal, the Latvians had beaten German youngsters Thole/Wickler who won the bronze medal against Vitor Felipe/Evandro (Brazil). The Germans were competing in their first World Tour final four. On their way to the semifinal, they had posted impressive wins on Saturday. In two straight sets they had beaten top-seeded Americans Dalhausser/Lucena before battling Norway’s Mol/Sorum in the quarterfinals (21:18, 22:24, 15:13).
On the women’s side, Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho claimed their first gold medal at an FIVB World Tour 4-star event. The Australians showed a superb performance, especially in the medal matches on Saturday. It is their fourth gold medal out of eight FIVB events they have been playing this season.
In the final they beat strong Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado in two sets (23:21, 21:17). The Aussies started the match with a couple of bad sets which helped the Brazilians to gain an early lead. Clancy and Artacho Del Solar improved their game during the first set and some great defense by Artacho paved the way to winning the set. The second set was dominated by Clancy’s strong serving that gave the Australians a lead in the middle of the set that the Brazilians couldn’t recover from. After last week’s early elimination at the 4-star Warsaw event, Taliqua Clancy was happy to recover in Espinho:
“We had a disappointing last week at Warsaw. We didn’t like the way that we played, so it was important to get back our belief and trust in our game. We kept delivering and it was fun!”
Sara Hughes and Summer Ross (USA) won the bronze medal match against Kinga Kolosinska and Katarzyna Kociolek (Poland).
The World Tour is looking ahead to the upcoming Major Series event at Gstaad, Switzerland next week.