Service winner advances Russians to men’s “final four”

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 16, 2016 - There was only one service winner in the Beach Volleyball quarter-final match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games’ match between Russia and Cuba here early Tuesday morning and it decided the contest for the Eurasia country and punched Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov’s ticket to the semi-final.

In a battle of unbeatens in the Copacabana contest, Krasilnikov and Semenov defeated NORCECA Continental Cup qualifiers Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez 2-1 (22-20, 22-24, 18-16) in 61 minutes as Semenov’s final serve hit the net and dropped in for the last point to oust the Cubans from the competition and advance the Russians to a semi-final meeting Tuesday evening against Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy.

Before midnight Monday, Lupo and Nicolai denied Russia its first bid for a semi-final berth by defeating Dmitri Barsouk and Nikita Liamin 2-1 (21-18, 20-22, 15-11) in 53 minutes.  It was the Italians third-straight win after advancing from pool play with a 1-2 mark.  Like Krasilnikov and Semenov, the Italians are the first men’s or women’s team from their country to advance to an Olympic “final four”.

After the Russians won the first set despite giving up a 19-17 lead, Gonzalez’ blocking highlighted the Cuban comeback in the second set as Krasilnikov and Semenov led 19-16 at one-point.  Gonzalez, who had nine blocks in the match, had three-straight stuffs at the end of the second set to tie the match for the Cubans.

In the deciding set that was tied 11 times with four lead changes, the Cubans were the one to give up the late lead as Diaz and Gonzalez held 12-9 and 13-10 advantages.  The Russians used a four-point run to regain the advantage t 14-13 after a Gonzalez’ fault.  From there, the Russians never trailed as Semenov’s service winner ticked the Rio 2016 net and produced the point in front of the diving Diaz.


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