All-Russian men’s final set up in Uludag

Tuesday 6th of March 2018

Uludag, Turkey, March 3, 2018.  Third time in a row! After Roccaraso and Bakuriani, Russians Ruslan Daianov and Taras Myskiv and their compatriots Ruslan Bykanov and Maksim Hudyakov will face each other in a CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour stop men’s final as they continued their unbeaten run on Uludag snow on Saturday.

On the second day of men’s and women’s main draw action the 75 km/h wind in the mountains over Bursa was so strong that it was all down to who would adjust better to these extreme conditions, as well as a fair share of pure luck. Still for the most part, the best-seeded teams moved forward in the competition, not leaving much room for unexpected surprises.

“The weather was so bad and so cold! It is hard to play in this environment, but making the final felt good,” Ruslan Bykanov exclaimed.

Top seeds Daianov and Myskiv started the day with a hard-fought 2-1 (14-12, 9-11, 11-6) victory over fourth-seeded Ivan Golovin and Valeriy Durnin, also from Russia, and qualified for the semifinals, where they managed a 2-0 (11-6, 11-9) straight-setter against second-seeded Poles Michal Matyja and Piotr Janiak.

Third-seeded Bykanov and Hudyakov had already mastered a 2-0 (11-5, 11-8) shutout of Matyja and Janiak in the third round to make the semis. Then they hammered out a 2-0 (11-8, 11-7) victory over Russian compatriots Yury Bogatov and Pavel Rakusov - who are the reigning Russian Snow Volleyball national champions - to set up another face-to-face encounter with Daianov and Myskiv for continental gold.

“Winning felt great,” Maksim Hudyakov commented. “This will be the third consecutive time we will meet the same rivals in a European Tour final. They won the first one and we won the second. We know our opponents and we will be well prepared.”

Only two of the women’s semifinalists became known on Saturday, with four more teams still in contention in the losers’ bracket for the other two semifinal spots.

Top-seeded Czechs Michaela Knoblochová and Anna Dostalova played only one match, but it was a tough three-set encounter with fourth-seeded Russians Ksenia Dabizha and Liudmila Dayanova. The reigning Queens of the Snow persevered for a come-from-behind 2-1 (8-11, 11-9, 12-10) win and qualified for the semis.

Home favourites Bugra Eryildiz and Aleyna Vence, seeded third, started their Uludag campaign with a speedy 2-0 (11-4, 11-5) second-round victory over Romania’s Elena-Andreea Petrosanu and Ioana-Rebeca Alexandru. However, in the third round they also had to come back from a set down against strong Slovakians Silvia Poszmikova and Romana Jurenkova, who had earlier upset second-seeded Russians Ekaterina Syrtseva and Ksenia Khakimzanova with a 2-1 (7-11, 11-7, 11-9) win. The Turks coped better with the extreme wind and battled their way back to a 2-1 (7-11, 11-5, 11-7) victory over the Slovak pair.

“We played against the same team three times already and won on all occasions, but the weather affected our performance today and made us drop the first set. We never lost our motivation though and won the remaining sets,” Bugra Eryildiz said.
“Because of the weather it felt more like a back-alley Volleyball match you would play with your neighbourhood friends. In such weather, it is easier to play with the wind on our backs and we capitalised on that,” Aleyna Vence added.

The last competition day in Uludag will start off at 10:30 local time with the last women’s losers’ bracket round, featuring a much anticipated all-Russian clash between Dabizha and Dayanova versus Syrtseva and Khakimzanova, while Slovakia’s Poszmikova and Jurenkova will test their skills against another Turkish pair, Rojda Bektas and Bensu Basak Engin.

Sunday’s men’s and women’s finals are scheduled for the early afternoon, at 13:00 and 13:50, respectively, as both of these gold medal games, as well as the awarding ceremony to follow, will be televised and streamed live on TRT Spor.

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