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2018-02-28 22:27:00 CET

The big Russian plan

After a successful 2017 season, Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin start 2018 with different partners – but that’s just temporary

Velichko and Stoyanovskiy had a good start in the Fort Lauderdale Major (Photocredit: FIVB)Velichko and Stoyanovskiy had a good start in the Fort Lauderdale Major (Photocredit: FIVB)

Beach volleyball fans around the world were left with several questions when the entry list for the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major was released and Russian up-and-comers Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin were entered with different partners after their best season together in 2017, when they had two podium placements and one semifinal appearance in the Poreč Major.

But don’t worry, it’s all part of a plan.

According to Stoyanovskiy, the new formations are just a way their coaches found to make them stronger. Their plan is to have the teams of Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko and Yarzutkin/Maxim Sivolap competing in the #FTLMajor and in the Doha four-star event next week and then return with the original formations.

“Artem and Sivolap had some minor injuries in the offseason and our coaches decided that it would be better if we started the season with different formations so we could prepare better,” Stoyanovskiy told us. “We’ve been progressing since we started playing together and I hope that we will be even stronger when we are reunited again.”

The teams had different starts in the #FTLMajor, though, as Stoyanovskiy and Velichko kicked off their campaigns with a convincing 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) win against Brazilians Guto Carvalhaes and Vitor Felipe while Yarzutkin and Sivolep were taken down by Dutch Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen also in two sets (21-14, 21-14).

On Thursday, Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin will play for the first place in Pool G against Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst. Sivolap and Yarzutkin, in the other hand, will have to prevail over Switzerland’s Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger to avoid having their first appearance together cut short.

“It’s a new motivation for me to play with a different partner,” Stoyanovskiy added. “We are happy that we managed to get a win against a very strong team. We were a little bit nervous, but we had a good side out and we did well on blocking and defense as well. I am confident that we can get to the semifinals and compete for medals here.”

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