Reigning European champions Tina Graudina and Anastasija Samoilova claimed the most emphatic victory in the quarterfinals of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday as the Latvians eliminated 2022 Beach Pro Tour winners Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes of the United States on their way to the semifinals.
Tina and Anastasija make it to the semifinals in Doha
The Latvians will face Swiss pair Brunner and Hüberli for a spot in the gold medal match of the Elite16 event
Published 05:29, 04 Feb 2023
Tina and Anastasija will face Swiss pair Nina Brunner and Tanja Hüberli in the semifinals at the Aspire Park sports complex on Sunday, at 14:00 local time (11:00 UTC), while Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Dutch team Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam will battle for the second spot in the final one hour earlier.
Tina and Anastasija seem to have found their best game in Doha during the elimination rounds as, after winning only one of their three pool play matches in the tournament, the Latvians have been perfect in the elimination rounds.
On Saturday, before eliminating Cheng and Hughes, who were undefeated in their last eight matches, with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) quarterfinal win, the Latvians topped another American team, Terese Cannon and Sarah Sponcil, also in two sets (21-16, 21-16) in the Round of 12.
“We lost some matches in pool play, but we thought we played well in those matches too,” Anastasija reflected. “I think we had the strongest pool in the tournament and it was a big challenge, but we were happy that we managed to advance. And in the elimination rounds, we’ve only been pushing ourselves and going for more.”
Tina and Anastasija, who won two European titles and made it to the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics together, were also glad to see some progress after they failed to break pool and finished seventh last week at the 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals.
“We left the Beach Pro Tour Finals with the feeling that we didn’t show our whole potential,” Tina explained. “We worked a lot during our winter camps and we were very happy to have another chance to show our game this week. The Americans are in great form and I’m glad we were able to compete with them and ultimately win. We have an intense history with the Swiss and I bet it’s going to be a fiery match.”
The history between the Latvians and Swiss shows three wins for each team in six encounters, half of which were decided in a tie-breaker. Tina and Anastasija won the last two duels, including last year’s European Championship gold medal match.
Brunner and Hüberli also won a pair of matches on Saturday to advance to the semifinals in Doha. The Swiss started the day in the Round of 12, where they eliminated Brazilian veterans Carol Salgado and Barbara Seixas with a two-set (21-19, 21-18) victory.
A few hours later, in the semifinals, the Tokyo Olympians were even more dominant, topping American qualifiers Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss also in two sets (21-17, 21-10).
The second semifinal in Doha will see a duel between Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe and Schoon/Stam, in a rematch of the bronze medal match of last week’s 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals, also in Doha. The Dutch, who won that encounter, have come out on top in three of the four duels between the teams since 2021.
Clancy and Mariafe advanced to the semifinals in great style, coming from behind to knock down reigning world champions Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-12) victory.
Stam and Schoon, who are one win away from their fourth-straight medal in international events, were in dominant form in the quarterfinals, prevailing over the new Canadian duo of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson in two sets (21-18, 21-19).
The bronze medal match in Doha will be played at 18:00 local time (15:00 UTC) on Sunday, with the final starting two hours later.