So far so good for Latvian debutants

01.07.2019 - Hamburg

Third win for Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenkova seals top spot

Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenkova say the help of the experienced Latvian men’s teams are helping them perform so well at their first ever World Championships.

The young debutants, just 21 and 22 years old, topped Pool B as their straight sets win over Germans Leonie Körtzinger and Sarah Schneider on the Red Bull Beach Arena secured their third successive victory at the Rothenbaum.

And with the assistance and advice of veteran duos Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs and Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, the youngsters are loving their first appearance on the world stage.

“They are like friends,” Tina said afterwards. “They help us, they have got our backs but they love to also poke for at us!

“They’re giving us advice like how to cope in the wind, how it is playing against a home team on the center court. It’s important advice and it’s really helping us.”

Tina and Anastasija are quietly confident of making progress on the world champs debut and now have their sights set on a run in the elimination stage.

“It’s been a dream start,” smiled Graudina. “It’s been so far so good but this is only the beginning. We didn’t expect to win the pool but the results suggest we’re playing good volleyball. We just have to continue that now.”

The Latvians win denied Austria late-entries Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig top place in the pool but the duo, who gatecrashed the world champs party following an injury to Markéta Sluková, will advance to the elimination stage as Pool B runners-up.

“It’s not been easy for us, coming in so late, not knowing if we were in the tournament or not but we were on fire today and that’s more like us,” said Katharina after the duo’s straight sets win over Katarzyna Kociolek and Kinga Wojtasik.

“We were nervous in our first two matches, we were not used to the arena and it was difficult to prepare. However today we showed we can beat a lot of the top teams if we play our best.”

Elsewhere on day four of the tournament, reigning champion Evandro Gonçalves and partner Bruno Oscar Schmidt made it two wins out of two after beating Venezuelans Tigrito Gomez and Carlos Rangel.