Rio de Janeiro, August 9, 2016 - Latvia's Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins and Cuba's Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez start off the afternoon session of day four in a battle to control pool D. Both teams won their openers in three sets and are looking to move into the elimination stage with a win.
Head to Head
The two teams have never met in FIVB World Tour competition
Historically the #9 seed has won all three previous matches in the Olympic Games, all in pool play. In London (2012) and Beijing (2008), the higher seed won in straight sets, and in Athens (2004), the lower seed forced a third set, falling 18-21, 21-19, and 15-10 in 69 minutes.
Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia, Seed #9, Pool D, 1-0, 2.000 Set Ratio, 1.0588 Point Ratio, Qualified 8th with 5,390 Points in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period
• Aleksandrs: April 6, 1985 (31y4m0d), 196 cm (6'5"), 96 kg (213 lbs.), Hometown Riga, 136th FIVB World Tour event (ranks 24th), nine gold medals (ranks 21st), $590,087 career winnings (ranks 25th)
• Janis: July 31, 1987 (29y0m6d), 191 cm (6'3"), 84 kg (186 lbs.), Hometown Kuldiga, 98th FIVB World Tour event (ranks 80th), 10 gold medals (ranks 17th), $509,987 career winnings (ranks 33rd)
• Aleksandrs and Janis have been playing together since 2013. They are playing in their 47th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together (ranks 58th), nine gold medals (ranks 10th), $771,675 career winnings (ranks 16th).
• Aleksandrs has played in 22 FIVB World Tour final fours with nine gold, six silver, three bronze medals and four 4th place finishes.
• Janis has played in 25 FIVB World Tour final fours with 10 gold, six silver, four bronze medals and five 4th place finishes.
• Aleksandrs and Janis have played in 10 Final Fours in 2015-2016 (Silver Gstaad Major 2015, Gold Rio de Janeiro Open 2015, Gold Sochi Open 2015, Bronze Xiamen Open 2015, 4th Fuzhou Open 2016, Gold Antalya Open 2016, Gold Olsztyn Grand Slam 2016, 4th Porec Major 2016, Bronze Gstaad Major 2016, Gold Klagenfurt Major 2016).
• Aleksandrs finished 9th in the Olympic Games with Martins Plavins in 2008 (Beijing) and finished 9th with Ruslans Sorokins in 2012 (London).
• Janis won the bronze medal in the Olympic Games with Martins Plavins in 2012 (London).
• Aleksandrs and Janis finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2013 (Stare Jablonki).
• Aleksandrs finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships with Martins Plavins in 2007 (Gstaad), 9th in 2009 (Stavanger) and 17th in 2011 (Rome), both with Ruslans Sorokins, and 17th with Martins Plavins in 2015 (The Hague).
• Janis finished 4th in the FIVB World Championships with Martins Plavins in 2011 (Rome).
• Aleksandrs and Janis are currently ranked 1st in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 5,270 points and 1st in winnings with $217,875.
• Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins have a career 203-67 (75.2%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 92-33 (73.6%) record in 2015-16.
• Aleksandrs and Janis won the gold medal at the European (CEV) Championship Final in 2015 (Klagenfurt, Austria).
• Aleksandrs won the gold medal at the U21 World Championships with Martins Plavins in 2005 (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
• Janis won the bronze medal at the U18 World Championships with Ingars Ivanovs in 2004 (Termoli, Italy).
• Aleksandrs and Janis were the FIVB World Tour Team of the Year and Tour Points Champions in 2013 and 2014.
• Janis was named the FIVB World Tour Best Hitter in 2013 and 2014, Best Offensive Player in 2013, Best Setter in 2013, and Sportsperson in 2013.
• Janis missed the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Netherlands with a knee injury.
• Defeated Ben Saxton / Chaim Schalk, Canada (16), 21-17, 18-21, and 15-13 in 55 minutes.
Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez, Cuba, Seed #21, Pool D, 1-0, 2.000 Set Ratio, 1.0345 Point Ratio, Qualified through North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA) Continental Cup
• Nivaldo: March 24, 1994 (22y4m13d), 200 cm (6'7"), 81 kg (180 lbs.), Hometown LA Habana, 2nd FIVB World Tour event, $5,500 career winnings
• Sergio: June 20, 1990 (26y1m17d), 192 cm (6'4"), 89 kg (198 lbs.), Hometown Holguin, 2nd FIVB World Tour event, $5,500 career winnings
• Nivaldo and Sergio are playing in their 2nd FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, $11,000 career winnings.
• Nivaldo and Sergio finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• Nivaldo and Sergio have a career 4-2 (66.7%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events, all in 2015-16.
• Nivaldo and Sergio won eight gold, one silver, and one bronze medal on the NORCECA Continental Tour from 2012-2014.
• Sergio has won seven gold, six silver, and two bronze medals on the NORCECA Continental Tour with Yaismel Borrel, Kinderlan Alvarez, and Karell Pena from 2009-2013.
• Sergio ranks 2nd all-time in NORCECA Continental Tour gold medals with 15 and Nivaldo ranks 5th with eight.
• Nivaldo and Sergio helped secure Cuba’s Rio berth with a 5-0 match mark in the NORCECA Continental Cup in Guaymas, Mexico
• Nivaldo and Sergio with one previous FIVB World Tour event each are tied with Tunisia's Choaib Belhaj and Mohamed Naceur as the least experienced men's players at the Rio Olympics.
• Defeated Evandro Goncalves / Pedro Solberg, Brazil (4), 24-22, 21-23, and 15-13 in 59 minutes.