All Russian Final at Xiamen Open


Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy (left) and Igor Velichko enter the gold medal match at the Xiamen Open

 Xiamen, China, April 21, 2018 – Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko defeat top seeds Piotr Kantor and Batorsz Losiak from Poland, 2-1 (22-20, 21-17) for a place in the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Open.

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Stoyanovskiy/Velichko in only their third tournament together, reach their second final in a row after taking silver in Doha in March. Their win against Poland places Stoyanovskiy/Velichko in the gold medal match against Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin from Russia.

“It’s an amazing feeling, we made it again, the second final in a row, second tournament, it’s unbelievable for us.

It was a really hard match for us because Poland played very well and they are one of the strongest teams in the World Tour and they are the number one seed here and are a really good team,” said Stoyanovskiy.

Igor Velichko from Russia at the net during the Xiamen semifinal

Stoyanovskiy/Velichko put the pressure on in the first set and Polish error meant the first set was taken by the Russians. With Stoyanovskiy standing at 205cm and Kantor at 200cm the two teams were evenly matched at the net, but the Russians continued to dominate in the second. The two teams had previously met in Doha where the Russians had beaten Kantor/Losiak in pool play.

“It helped us in this match because in Doha we could make a comeback after losing the first set, after that we were ready for losing the first set but this time it was better.

“It’s really wonderful that the two teams from Russia in the final, we’re really happy and I hope it will be a good game,” said Stoyanovskiy. 
After a great run in Xiamen, Kantor/Losiak will now fight for bronze against Alison/Bruno Schmidt.

The first semifinal of the day was between Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin from Russia. The two powerful teams exchanged blows, but Russia began to pull away in the first for a seven point lead. The table turned in the second with Alison/Bruno Schmidt taking the edge, but they were unable to get a handle in the tie-break and Liamin’s strength at the net helped earn Russia a place in the gold medal match, 2-1 (21-12, 11-21, 15-10).

Alison Cerutti (left) from Brazil and Nikita Liamin from Russia

“It was a very difficult game, but we’re happy because it’s the first final in our season. Games against Brazil are always difficult,” said Liamin.

2017 World Championship bronze medallists Krasilnikov/Liamin both had final four finishes in Xiamen with different partners. They won two tournaments last year in The Hague and Kish Island.

“We’ll have some time to relax before tomorrow and I think we’ll do well,” said Liamin.

Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sørum continued their form in Xiamen knocking out veterans Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, 2-0 (25-23, 21-17) in round two. The Norwegians then faced Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt for the second time in Xiamen, after defeating the Brazilians in the pool. Alison/Bruno Schmidt didn’t let it happen for a second time though winning, 2-0 (21-13, 21-19).

In the big clash of the morning, it was Alexander Horst and Clemens Doppler from Austria who defeated Xiamen Open defending champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, 2-0 (23-21, 21-19).
Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner from Czech Republic surprised themselves in Xiamen by posting their best result to date with fifth after defeating, Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson who also displayed strong form in Xiamen, 2-1 (22-20, 17-21, 15-13).

Poland’s Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek were responsible for knocking out 2016 Xiamen gold medallists Spanish team Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrian Gavira Collado in the second round, 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-13). They were then defeated by Piotr Kantor and Batorsz Losiak for the semifinal position, 2-0 (21-15, 21-17).

Women’s Main Draw

In their first tournament together, USA’s Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar earn their semifinal spot by defeating Joy Stubbe and Marleen Ramond-van Iersel from the Netherlands, 2-0 (21-15, 21-16).

“We’ve had some gnarly battles and that turnaround was quite quick and so playing through exhaustion we went extra innings with both Swiss teams. We didn’t have any extra energy to burn, we had to play really clean and we did, so we’re feeling great going into the semis to be honest, now it’s new life, now it’s fresh,” said Hochevar.

“Our game plan was to come out and be aggressive on every contact and stay long on every contact and I think we did that and we’re a new team, so we’re working on syncing up together and I think that was a really good match for us. We were on the same page the whole time which is always a plus,” said Claes.

Kelly Claes (left) and Brittany Hochevar from USA against Joy Stubbe from Netherlands.

Three USA teams made it through to Xiamen Open quarterfinals in Claes/Hochevar, Sara Hughes & Summer Ross and April Ross & Alexandra Klineman and Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar. Claes/Hochevar are the team to earn the semifinal spot.

“As a new team, as much as we’ve trained together you never know until you’re in the heat of battle and we’ve definitely had the heat turned up and we’ve definitely had some battles and so that’s how we’ve had to learn each other quickly. The competition is so stiff, everybody is good, I mean our qualifying match was against Juliana from Brazil, so from the moment we stepped off the plane the punches have been coming at us and we’ve been able to punch back, so it’s been difficult,” said Hochevar.
Australia’s Mariafe Del Solar Artacho and Taliqua Clancy from Australia, who won silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, secure their semifinal position with a smooth win over Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, 2-0 (21-16, 21-10).

Brazil sees one team progress after Dela Open silver medallists Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado from Brazil were knocked out by Stubbe, J./van Iersel from the Netherlands, 2-1 (21-18, 17-21, 15-9).

Agatha Bednarczuk from Brazil and Wang Fan from China

Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Agatha Bednarczuk earn their semifinal spot firstly defeating local favourites Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi, 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) and then after a long battle against Ross/Klineman, 2-1 (21-18, 27-29, 15-13).

Top seeds Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes are safely through to the semifinal, first winning against Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider and then in a challenging match against USA’s Sara Hughes & Summer Ross, 2-1 (20-22, 21-19, 16-14).