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2018-03-03 20:55:00 CET

Latvians roar in to the semis

Samoilovs and Smedins took down Polish duo to stay in contention for medals in the #FTLMajor

Samoilovs struggled with injuries in the 2017 seasonSamoilovs struggled with injuries in the 2017 season

After what was a frustrating 2017 season, Latvian stars Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins seem to be back on track, as the veterans grabbed a spot on the semifinals of the 2018 Fort Laurderdale Major. They will now play USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena for a place in the tournament’s final this Saturday at 8.30pm (EST).

Samoilovs and Smedins, who had last played in a Beach Major Series semifinal in 2016, whey the won the Klagenfurt Major, returned to the Final Four in great style as they outplayed the ‘wind masters’ Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in three-sets (12-21, 21-13, 15-10) in one of the side courts of the Fort Lauderdale Major.

It was the seventh Latvian victory in nine matches between the teams.

“It’s great to be in the semifinals of the first big tournament of the year,” Samoilovs told us. “The Polish play amazingly in the wind because they are very so fast and have great ball control. We played under our level in the first set and they destroyed us but we came back. I can’t wait to play on Center Court at night. I watched last year’s semifinals in Porec and it was amazing, I wanted so badly to play there.”

We are in #FTLMajor 1/2 finals! πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ Got the win over πŸ‡΅πŸ‡± Kantor/Losiak, 2-1! #SAMSME πŸ“·: @portablepast_malte_cc 🏐🏐🏐 @smscredit.lv @betsafe @btalatvija @venden_latvija @lidolv @citysportlatvia @jurmalalv @best4sporttv @baker_nutrition @volejbolslv @semarahhotels @sportlandlv @lattelecomlv

303 Likes, 3 Comments - Samoilovs Smedins (@samoilovssmedins) on Instagram: "We are in #FTLMajor 1/2 finals! πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ Got the win over πŸ‡΅πŸ‡± Kantor/Losiak, 2-1! #SAMSME πŸ“·:..."

The Latvians were aware of the windy conditions they would face in Fort Lauderdale and they prepared accordingly to them, spending some weeks in a training camp in Hurghada, Egypt, but their plan almost backfired.

“That was actually fun, because I’ve been going there for eight years and it has always been windy,” the ‘Lion King’ added. “This year, though, it wasn’t winding at all and when we got here and I saw how it was, I thought: ‘What?!’ But we arrived a week before the tournament and had enough time to adjust and to practice against some great teams, so that could have helped us.”

The Latvians will have a big challenge ahead of them in Dalhausser and Lucena. The local heroes remain in cruise mode in Fort Lauderdale as they are yet to drop a set in the first Beach Major Series tournament of the year after four matches. In the quarter-finals, they defeated Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen 22-20, 21-16.

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

If you can't be here at #FTLMajor - you can watch all games live at our #BeachStream πŸ“ΊπŸπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ https://t.co/WluNq81fW1 #hellosunny #GivesYouWings #wawa

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