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Mexicans and Cubans are second and third in China

QINZHOU, China, October 15, 2017 – Russia’s 15th seeds Maxim Sivolap/Igor Velichko rallied past Mexico’s fourth seeds Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros in a three-set thriller Sunday morning to capture their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour title at the Qinzhou Open.

Sivolap and Velichko, who have never reached the podium at any World Tour event, earned the 19-21, 21-19 and 20-18 victory in the gold medal match that lasted for 52 minutes.

“We are really happy! We played on almost our maximum level and won the tournament and we can’t express our feelings now. It’s something marvelous,” said Sivolap. “The gold medal shows that we are going in the right direction and we have been working strongly. Our aim was to go for the gold medal and we got it and everybody is really happy.”

After dropping the first set, Sivolap and Velichko led most of the way to level one set back and force the tiebreaker. In the third set, the Mexicans beat off six match points to level it at 18-all, but Velichko converted on the seventh with a smash.

Earlier on Sunday, third seeds Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba rallied past top seeds Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium 16-21, 21-16 and 15-11 to take home the bronze medal, the first medal for them at any World Tour event.

“This medal is very important for us, because the people in Cuba love volleyball so much,” said Nivaldo. “And this is the last tournament of the season, it’s great to go home with a medal.”