Russia’s Makroguzova & Kholomina on track topping pool at U21 World Champs
Nanjing, China, July 13, 2017. Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina from Russia took a step further to a second FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championship podium in Nanjing.
Makroguzova/Kholomina claimed silver at the 2016 U21 World Championships in Lucerne and recently gold at the U22 European Championships. They finished day two of pool play in top spot, undefeated after three matches and without dropping a set.
“Last year we took silver medal in this competition and this year we try again, but not silver. Gold,” said Makroguzova.
On the final day of pool play, the Russian team took on Poland’s Martyna Kloda and Kinga Legieta in the match that would decide the pool winner. Overcast skies offered a little respite from the previous sunny days in Nanjing, but temperatures were still up to 34°C with 75% humidity.
In a tense match against the Polish team, emotions were running high as the two teams settled into the match. Makroguzova/Kholomina calmed as they found their game and closed out the second set 2-0 (21-19, 21-14).
“We are really happy because it was a really difficult game and difficult team. With this weather, many teams cannot perform to their ability because this weather is very tiring. But we managed to reach our level to win this game,” said Makroguzova.
“It is great if we take first place in the pool, because we only need to play one match tomorrow. It is very important in this situation,” said Kholomina.
Natalie Honzovicova and Tereza Pluharova from Czech Republic exceeded expectations entering the single elimination in Nanjing after snatching the lucky loser spot from the qualification tournament. The Czech pair have age-group experience competing in the U19 World Championships in 2014 and then the U21 World Championships in 2016 with their best result ninth in 2014.
Honzovicova/Pluharova faced 2017 U21 Asian Championship winners Thailand’s Pawarun Chanthawichai and Thatsarida Singchuea in their final pool match with the Czech team dominating the match with a strong presence on court, 2-0 (21-9, 21-11).
“The Thai girls were good, but we were better, we are taller and we had stronger attacks so that was our advantage,” said Honzovicova. “We were in qualification so our goal was to make it into the main draw and we lost in the third round so we are lucky losers,” said Pluharova.
“So it’s really, really good that we are here. And we are enjoying it so much, the music, the atmosphere and the people are so kind,” said Honzovicova. “We lost our match yesterday against China in the tie-beak 15-13 so it was so close, but it was a nice match and good atmosphere on centre court,” Honzovicova concluded.
China’s Wang Jiaxi and Wang Jing took the top spot in Pool A, with Honzovicova/Pluharova and Pawarun/Thatsarida also qualifying into the single elimination phase.
The teams with three pool wins in Nanjing, topping their respective pools were defending champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos of Brazil, last year’s bronze medallists Canada’s Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara, USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Milica Mirkovic who won bronze at the U19 Larnaka World Championships last year, Paraguay’s Michelle Sharon Valiente Amarilla and Giuliana Poletti, Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka and Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya/Viktoryia Siakretava from Belarus.
The top three teams in each pool qualify into the single elimination phase on July 14, when the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships quarterfinal places will be decided.
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Information by cev.lu