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12/10/2017 18:55
Top seeds through to Round 3 at CEV-EEVZA Satellite in Baku
2017 CEV-EEVZA Beach Volleyball Satellite - Baku

Baku, Azerbaijan, October 12, 2017. The Main Draw of the CEV-EEVZA double-gender Satellite started on Thursday at the iconic Beach Arena in Baku. A few teams progressed straight to the third round after recording two consecutive victories whereas the losers from the early matches resumed their campaign later in the day hoping to stay ‘alive’ in the competition.  

Third-seeded Latvians Rihards Finsters/Aleksandrs Solovejs started their journey with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) victory over Jan Dumek and Vaclav Bercik of the Czech Republic. Later in the day, the Latvians celebrated another victory – and again they beat a Czech team in Jindrich Weiss/Martin Tichy. Finsters/Solovejs claimed the first set 22-20 before the opponents emerged victorious from an equally thrilling second set (22-20). The Latvians regrouped in the tiebreak (15-10), thus sealing their spot in the third round, where they will be playing Alexander Likholetov/Ilya Leshukov of Russia.

One of the top favourite teams in the tournament, top-seeded Maxime Thiercy/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat from France beat Azerbaijan’s Vadim Kutukov/Parviz Samadov 21-7, 21-10. After that, the top seeds from France edged Nejc Zemljak/Vid Jakopin of Slovenia in a three-set game (21-14, 17-21, 15-13) and moved on to the third round where they will meet their compatriots Olivier Barthelemy/Romain Di Giantommaso.

The home teams representing Azerbaijan dropped all of their matches in the Main Draw. Ruslan Aliyev and Vusal Gurbanov lost in two quick sets (9-21, 9-21) to Austria’s Philipp Waller and Julian Hörl after earlier in the day they had admitted defeat to Russia’s Petr Bakhnar and Yury Bogatov. “We are participating in a high-level tournament featuring some star players,” Gurbanov commented. “I haven’t any experience at this level and this is my first international Beach Volleyball competition. We wanted to show our best but the level of this Satellite is incredibly high.”

The highlight of the women’s competition was the matchup between Annemieke Driessen/Ilke Meertens of the Netherlands and France’s Alexia Richard/Margaux Carrere, with the latter ones emerging victorious in two sets (21-15, 21-12) in a remake of the gold medal match from the CEV Satellite held in Siófok, Hungary back in July. Before that, the French team lost in three sets to Tjasa Kotnik/Tjasa Jancar, with the Slovenians through to the third round where they are set to play France’s Alexandra Jupiter/Ophélie Lusson. Reigning U18 and U20 European champions Maria Voronina/Mariia Bocharova from Russia and Lisa Arnholdt/Sarah Schneider from Germany have also progressed to Round 3 with two straight victories.

The three teams representing Azerbaijan lost all of their matches. “We are happy that we could play in such a big tournament, this is an honour of us. We were hoping for better results but the opposition was simply too strong,” said Ilhama Aliyeva. “We need time to develop since we do not have any experience of competing at this level.”

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