Grimalt cousins knock out top seeds and reach Antalya semis

Antalya, Turkey, October 24, 2015 – Esteban and Marco Grimalt reached the final four of a FIVB World Tour event for the third time in their career on Saturday. On their way to the Antalya Open semifinals the cousins from Chile knocked out top seeds Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the second elimination round.

The fifth seeded Grimalts started the day with a 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13) win over Austria’s Christoph Dressler and Thomas Kunert. Next came two straight wins over Samoilovs and Smedins (21-17, 21-17) and Belgians Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle (21-11, 21-15).

“We are extremely pleased with winning all these tough matches as they were very important to us”, Esteban Grimalt said. “Especially winning against the top seeds has given us a lot of confidence. We are proud at this stage and look forward to tomorrow’s match.”

The Grimalts, who won two silver medals last year in Parana and Mangaung, face fourth seeded Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen in Sunday’s semifinal. The Mexicans lead the series 3-0.

As pool winners Ontiveros and Virgen started in the second elimination round in which they knocked out home favourites Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gogtepe (18-21, 21-15, 15-13). Another hard fought 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 17-15) got them into the final four for the second time in their career, since they won bronze in Puerto Vallarta last year.

Italy takes on new Latvian pair

Porec bronze medallists and second seeded Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula are up against Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza in the other semifinal.

The Italians defeated Spain’s Christian Garcia and Francisco Marco (21-15, 21-19) and German pair Tim Holler and Jonas Schröder (21-16, 21-18) on their way to the final four.

Ranghieri was very pleased with their performance on Saturday. “We remained calm throughout. We played consistent and we are a good pair who can serve well too. We always have fun when we play and as long as we play our own game we don’t think about anything else but to enjoy the game.”

Latvia’s new pair Plavins and Regza has booked nothing but straight wins in Antalya so far. On Saturday the ninth seeded team set aside Canadians Grant O’Gorman and Sam Pedlow (21-15, 23-21) and sixth seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak from Poland (21-18, 24-22).

Thirty-year old Plavins won bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Janis Smedins, but has changed partners a lot after that. In June he won the European Games with young Regza (24) and they teamed up for the World Tour after that. This is their second final four in just five events. In September they finished fourth in Xiamen.

“We had different partners and now that we have changed partners we had to spend time to adapt”, Plavins said. “It’s good to be back on track. We won against Poland in China and now in Turkey, which has boosted our confidence. We look forward to the rest of this competition.”

Latvia and Italy met once before, this year at the CEV Milan Masters. The Italians won and later ended up with the gold.


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