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.”