St. Petersburg, Russia, August 25, 2014. One of the last stops of the 2014 EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour ended on Sunday at the resort area of St. Petersburg in Russia. In a tense fight and not the best weather conditions the success on the Sestroretsk sand was celebrated by teams from Lithuania and Russia.
On the last game day, the semifinal and the final matches were played on the central court of the Dubkovsky beach stadium. Despite optimistic weather forecasts the wind and the rain were on the way for both the players and the spectators who were able to watch beach volleyball of high European level for the first time in the last 7 years.
The level was really good. Two teams from Ukraine qualified for the final four of the women's competition, but still the favorites were duos from Russia and Lithuania. Miracles did not happen - Yulia Abalakina / Ksenia Dabizha and Ieva Dumbauskaite / Monika Povilaityte met in the final match for the gold medal, having defeated without too much troubles their rivals from Ukraine. Unfortunately, a serious fight in the final did not occur - the FIVB U21 World Championship runners-up beat the girls from Moscow in three straight sets and won their second EEVZA gold of the season.
"We are very pleased to win here in Russia. It so happened that we lost the last two finals we played. We had lost the confidence that has now been returned due to this success. Thanks to the organizers, the CEV and EEVZA for such a wonderful tournament. I am pleased to be back in St. Petersburg again," said Ieva Dumbauskaite after the victory.
In the men's tournament, the main battle took place during the semifinals. At the start two pairs from Latvia gave the audience a chic match where the winner was determined by a tie-breaker. Two Toms - Smedins and Benjavs, showed more character and more luck in the decisive fifth set. In the second semifinal, to the delight of the local fans, who despite the rain remained on the stands, Maxim Khudyakov / Yury Bogatov were able to beat the Belarusian duo Aliaksandr Dziadkou / Aliaksandr Kavalenka in another difficult five-set match. For a long time the initiative in the match was in the hands of the Belarusians, but the Russian volleyballers cashed their match point and produced a ticket to the final.
As in the women’s tournament, the men's final was rather straightforward. Despite the fact that exactly for this final match of the tournament the weather showed some mercy and warm sun shone over the Gulf of Finland, Khudyakov / Bogatov defeated the athletes from Latvia in less than 30 minutes and won the gold medals.
"This season is not easy for us. Very often we had to play in different combinations. Therefore, this victory is very important for us as a team," Maxim Khudyakov commented after the final.
The bronze medals in the competition went to Ukraine’s Diana Mulenko / Inna Makhno and Belarus’s Dziadkou / Kavalenka. The winners received prizes in addition to 280 FIVB/CEV ranking points.
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