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Cottafava & Nicolai celebrate as Jurmala winners

Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava skyrocketed in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Ranking. After winning the men’s gold at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Elite16 event in Latvia, the Italian pair climbed 15 positions up to number three.

The 1,200 points Nicolai and Cottafava took for topping Sunday’s podium extended their total to 4,080 points, 40 points clear of previous number two Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands, who did not make it past the pool stage in Jurmala. Meanwhile, USA’s Chaim Schalk and Theodore Brunner, who did make it to the quarterfinals, moved six positions up to number six, just 40 points short of the Dutch team.

Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar are another new member of the men’s top 10. They took 900 points for finishing fourth on the Baltic coast and rose from 16th to sixth on a total of 3,800 points, just 20 clear of another new top 10 entry, seventh-ranked Christopher McHugh and Paul Burnett of Australia.

Jurmala runners-up Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar improved from fourth to second in the ranking on a new total of 4,720 points, while world’s number one Andre Stein and George Wanderley stayed on top of the charts with 4,920 points after claiming the bronze in Latvia.

Talita Antunes and Rebecca Silva did not make the Jurmala semifinals, but there fifth place was enough to lift them to the number six position in the women’s World Ranking. Previously 13th, the Brazilian pair added 760 points to their record to climb seven positions up on a new total of 3,800 points.

Jurmala silver medallists Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg improved to 5,400 points, sticking to the number two spot in the World Ranking, 380 points short of Dutch leaders Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon, who reached the quarterfinals in Latvia. The total number of Brazilian teams in the top 10 has gone up to five, with Elize Maia and Thamela Coradello ranked fourth, Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues fifth, and Taiana Lima and Hegeile Almeida sharing the number 10 position with Latvia’s Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina.

However, Sunday’s bronze medallists Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos, are not one of them. Still, they jumped 13 positions up to number 16, just below world champions and Jurmala winners Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, whose success on the Baltic coast shifted them only two spots up, as they also lost the points gained for their fourth place at last year’s Ostrava 4-star tournament.

The winners of last week’s Klaipeda Futures in Lithuania also made giant leaps up the ladder. Austria’s Julian Horl and Alexander Horst made it to the top 50 in the men’s ranking, rising from 66th to 48th, while Lithuania’s Monika Paulikiene and Erika Kliokmanaite entered the top 100 on the ladies’ side, blazing from number 147 to number 72.