Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 7, 2016 - Forecasted to be the toughest of the six men’s pools in the Rio 2016 Olympic Beach Volleyball competition did materialize here Sunday and early Monday with both Pool D matches being three-setters concluding with an Latvian come-from-behind win over Canada.
For the record in the final match on the second-day program, Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia posted a 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-13) win in 59 minutes over Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk of Canada. Earlier Sunday, Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba upset Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg of Brazil 2-1 (24-22, 21-23, 15-13) in another 59-minute match.
The third-and-deciding set in the Canada/Latvia match was tied seven times before Saxton scored back-to-back points on an attack and a block to give the North Americans a 10-8 edge. The Canadian led 13-11 when Samoilovs converted on two attacks to tie the final set at 13-13. The match ended with two Schalk hitting errors.
The match was the eighth international meeting between the two teams with Samoilovs and Smedins winning the last two matches in the last eight days, including a semi-final win last Sunday in the A1 Major Klagenfurt when the Latvians won the gold medal at the SWATCH Major Series event on the FIVB World Tour.
The four Pool D teams resume play Tuesday with Samoilovs and Smedins playing the Cubans for the pool lead while the Canadians challenging Evandro and Pedro in a “must win” situation for both pairs.