Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins triumph as Moscow champions again
Moscow, Russia, August 18, 2019 – Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins defended their 2018 title of the Moscow four-star event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. In the 2019 men’s final, the 18th-seeded Latvians once again defeated reigning Olympic champion Alison Cerutti, this time with his current partner Alvaro Morais Filho. Three-time Olympian Samoilovs and Olympic bronze medallist and two-time Olympian Smedins already have 12 gold (also including one from the 2013 Moscow Grand Slam), five silver and six bronze medals together on the World Tour.
Second-seeded Brazilians Alison & Alvaro Filho settled for silver to improve their Tour record to two gold and two silver medals since they teamed up in April. Reigning Olympic champion and two-time Olympic medallist Alison won Moscow gold in 2011 and 2012 with Emanuel Rego, 2016 Moscow silver with Bruno Schmidt and 2018 Moscow silver with Andre Loyola Stein, while Alvaro Filho got 2013 Moscow bronze alongside Ricardo, which means that one or the other of this current tandem has been on the podium at six of the last nine FIVB events in the Russian capital.
Without having to get out on the court on Sunday, sixth-seeded Germans Julius Thole & Clemens Wickler claimed the bronze. Their opponents, Brazil’s Gustavo Albrecht Carvalhaes & Saymon Barbosa Santos, forfeited the third place game because of Saymon’s shoulder injury. For the German pair, silver medallists from this summer’s World Championship in Hamburg, this is the second bronze medal on the World Tour. They also have one World Tour silver to their names.
Three players were also honoured with individual awards - Janis Smedins for best defender, Alison Cerutti for best blocker and for fair play, and Russia’s “Mr. Skyball”, Taras Myskiv, for best server.
The men’s podium at Moscow
In what was to a great extend a remake of last year’s Moscow final, a couple of monster blocks gave Samoilovs & Smedins the break points they needed to take an early lead in the first set of the gold medal match. Towards the second half of the set, the Latvians pushed further to completely dominate on the court on the way to a 21-12 landslide. They continued their fantastic performance into the second set and quickly ran off with a 5-1 advantage. This time, Alison & Alvaro Filho did not give up so early and kept fighting for recovery, but Samoilovs & Smedins were unstoppable. They kept the pressure on and Samoilovs hammered the team’s last two points to shape up the 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) victory.
“We’re feeling great! We finally won our first medal this season and it’s gold! It feels great! We really need these points towards Olympic qualification, but we also needed this for us. When you work hard at practice all winter every day three times a day and then you lose all the time, your confidence is going down and you forget how winning feels. Thanks to our manager and to our families, who really believe in us and push us forward! We still believe in our team! At this tournament we had some pretty good matches. The semifinal three-setter last night was the craziest one... That kind of games for sure give you confidence and we felt comfortable on the court today,” the Moscow champions commented after the awarding ceremony. “I also want to thank the Norwegians, Mol & Sorum, for not coming to this tournament, so we got a chance to get the gold,” Samoilovs finished with a joke.
“It was a good final, but not for us. Latvia played really well. But we are very happy because we see evolution in our team. The team is getting better each tournament. This was our second final and our fourth final four in a row on the World Tour. We just want to say ‘thank you’ to Russia and to everybody who came here to support us,” Alison & Alvaro Filho said.
“Now we are feeling very good. We didn’t win this ourselves since Saymon & Guto had to withdraw from the last game. We would prefer to have played this game, but anyway now we are happy with the bronze medal,” Germans Thole & Wickler pointed out. “Moscow was really good for us – a fifth (at last week’s European Championship) and a third place – and we can be really proud. Most of the time we played on a pretty high level and reaching the semis and winning bronze in the end feels really good. It is only our fourth medal on the World Tour. We are young at the game and we are hungry for more...”