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2018-03-02 22:46:00 CET

Following the script

Kantor and Losiak play Plavins and Tocs for the third time in 2018 and advance to the quarterfinals

Losiak and Kantor will now face another Latvian team in Samoilovs and Smedins (Photocredit: FIVB)Losiak and Kantor will now face another Latvian team in Samoilovs and Smedins (Photocredit: FIVB)

Anytime Polish Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak enter an international tournament in the 2018 season, they only know one thing for sure – sooner or later, Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs will be on their way. That was what happened this Friday in the Round of 16 of the Fort Lauderdale Major, with the Polish team prevailing and advancing to the quarter-finals.

It was the third meeting between the teams in as many tournaments played by the Polish in 2018. They first crossed paths in the World Tour four-star tournament in The Hague, in the first week of January, when the Latvians won and took home the gold medal.

The following week they met again, now in the semifinals of the European Masters in Pelhrimov, with the Polish prevailing. The same happened in Fort Lauderdale, with Kantor and Losiak posting a 21-16, 21-16 victory against the up-and-comers Latvians.

“I think we know each other pretty well already,” Losiak joked. “It’s funny that the matches are always tough, but the score usually shows an easy win for one side or the other. They played last week in Kish Island and flew straight to here, so I felt they were a little tired and we took advantage of it. It was a good win for us.”

The Polish are confident they can be the ones to break the European curse in the United States as only twice a team from the continent won a gold medal in the 17 tournaments on US sand, with the last victory dating back to 1996.

“I hope so,” Losiak said when asked if they could change it. “Last year we were ninth, now we will be at least fifth, so it’s already better. The conditions here are complicated for us because of the wind, but we came here ten days before the tournament and we have already settled.”

The Europeans actually have a decent shot on finally taking home a gold medal as five of the eight quarter-finalists are from the continent, including the Polish next rivals, Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins, who defeated Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt of Brazil in straight sets (21-17, 21-16).

Spain's Herrera and Gavira are still undefeated in the Fort Lauderdale MajorSpain's Herrera and Gavira are still undefeated in the Fort Lauderdale Major

Other All-European matchup will reunite Spain’s Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira and Italy’s Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo. The Spanish eliminated Canada’s Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter in three sets (19-21, 21-17, 15-10) while the silver medalists of Rio 2016 prevailed in Italian derby against Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati, also in the tie-breaker (18-21, 21-17, 15-6).

The fifth European team still in contention in the #FTLMajor is The Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, as the Dutch got a two-set (22-20, 22-20) victory over Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko. They will face top-seeded Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who cruised past Brazil’s Guto Carvalhaes and Vitor Felipe in straight sets (21-17, 21-17).

The final matchup will have other American team, John Hyden/Theo Brunner, and the last Brazilian team left, Pedro Solberg/George Wanderley. The veterans prevailed in three sets (14-21, 21-19, 18-16) the all-American duel with Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb while the Brazilian qualifiers rolled past Poland’s Gregorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl in straight sets (23-21, 21-17).

The quarter-finals will be played on Saturday, at 12.15pm and 1.15pm. The semifinals are scheduled for the night session with the medal matches ending the tournament on Sunday. Click here to see the full schedule.

Quarterfinals

Dalhausser/Lucena (USA) v Brouwer/Meeuwsen (NED)

Kantor/Losiak (POL) v Samoilovs/Smedins (LAT)

Herrera/Gavira (ESP) v Lupo/Nicolai (ITA)

Pedro Solberg/George (BRA) v Hyden/Brunner (USA)

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

If you can't be here at #FTLMajor - you can watch all games live at our #BeachStream 📺🏐🇺🇸 https://t.co/WluNq81fW1 #hellosunny #GivesYouWings #wawa

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