Italians dominate Sofia semifinals


Italy is guaranteed a spot in both the men’s and women’s gold medal matches of the fourth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour one-star event in Sofia as the country advanced two male and two female duos to the semifinals of the tournament played at the Bulgarian capital. 

On the men’s side, the Italian duos are the only to remain undefeated after two days of competition at the Sofia Beach Club. Second-seeded Andrea Abbiati and Tiziano Andreatta defeated France’s Arthur Canet/Teo Rotar 2-1 (23-21, 19-21, 15-10) to win pool A and then Serbia’s Lazar Kolaric/Milos Milic 2-0 (23-21, 21-16) in the quarterfinals to secure their third victory in Bulgaria.

Fellow Italians and semifinal opponents Gianluca dal Corso and Tobia Marchetto took a similar route, topping pool C with a straight-set (21-15, 21-19) win over Kolaric and Milic and a three-set (21-18, 25-27, 15-7) triumph over Bulgarians Neven Neshev and Delcho Raev. 

Russian Youth Olympic champion Yarzutkin hits against the English block

The other two semifinalists had a longer day in Sofia as an early pool play defeat sent them to the Round of 12. Russians Dmitrii Veretiuk and Artem Yarzutkin bounced back with two-set victories against England’s Javier Bello/Joaquin Bello (21-18, 21-13) and Brazil’s Adrielson dos Santos/Matheus Maia (21-17, 21-12) to make the it to the semis.

It was the same with Dutch Dirk Boehle and Mart van Werkhoven, who responded to a pool play upset with back-to-back straight-set wins against USA’s Travis Mewhirter/Adam Roberts (21-13, 21-16) and Denmark’s Kristoffer Abell/Jacob Brinck to find their way to the final four.

On the women’s side, the all-Italian semifinal will put face-to-face Claudia Scampoli and Margherita Bianchin, who won the third World Tour event in Sofia, just two weeks ago, and are now playing with different partners.

Guaranteed in the quarterfinals after winning their pools on Friday, the two had just a single match to play on Saturday, in the quarterfinals. Scampoli and Sara Breidenbach downed Germans Leonie Klinke and Lena Ottens in three sets (16-21, 21-18, 15-10) while Bianchin and Chiara They needed only two (21-18, 21-18) to eliminate Israelis Anita Dave and Sofia Starikov.

The other two semifinalists, on the other hand, had to win a pair of matches on Saturday. Polish Jagoda Gruszczynska and Kinga Legieta started the day with a two-set (21-10, 21-10) Round of 12 win over Bulgarians Yoana Kalfinova and Simona Nikolova and ended it with a three-set (22-20, 22-24, 15-13) quarterfinal victory against Dutch Esmee Priem and Iris Reinders.

The Polish work to keep the ball in play against the Dutch

Estonian qualifiers Heleene Hollas and Liisa Soomets completed the final four after they eliminated Latvians Varvara Brailko and Luize Skrastina in two sets (21-16, 21-17) in the Round and 12 and Danish Sofia Bisgaard and Clara Windeleff in three (18-21, 21-17, 15-12) in the quarterfinals.

The semifinals and medal matches in Sofia will be live streamed in the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) YouTube channel on Sunday.

Quick links:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - Sofia Beach Open 4
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020


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