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2018-07-31 18:59:00 CEST

Women’s main draw set at the Danube Island

With the last qualified teams set, the women’s tournament starts on Wednesday

Russians Birlova and Ukolova advanced to the main draw in Vienna (Photocredit: FIVB)Russians Birlova and Ukolova advanced to the main draw in Vienna (Photocredit: FIVB)

The main draw line-up for the women’s tournament of the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch is set following 24 qualification matches played at the Danube Island on Tuesday. The eight final spots were awarded to teams of seven different countries and the 32 female duos will kick off the main draw on Wednesday.

The Vienna Major will have some new faces among the beach volleyball elite as the young Latvians Tina Graudina, 20, and Anastasija Kravcenoka, 21, will make their first-ever main draw appearances in a Beach Major Series event.

Seeded fourth in the qualifier, the team, which won the silver medal in the Under-22 European Championships, advanced with a two-set (21-17, 21-17) victory over Switzerland’s Laura Caluori and Dunja Gerson in the second round.

“It was a tough psychological game for us as we’ve met Dunja Gerson before and we have some history in the court,” Graudina commented. “We played in a Major Series event for the first time in Gstaad this year and we didn’t qualify, so it was like a comeback for us. We are just very happy that we advanced and we just want to enjoy our games in the main draw.”

Two-time Olympians Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova also advanced and will play in a Beach Major Series event main draw for the first time since Klagenfurt in 2016. The Russian veterans spent the last season playing with different partners and resumed their partnership in 2018.

To advance in Vienna, Ukolova and Birlova had to play two matches and they made through the qualification tournament with a two-set (21-14, 21-14) victory over Lithuania’s Urte Andriukaityte and Ieva Dumbauskaite and a hard-fought three-set (17-21, 21-16, 22-20) triumph over Japan’s Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa.

“We just arrived from Morroco and it wasn’t easy to play two games in the same day with such high temperatures,” Ukolova remarked. “In the second game, when the score was over 15 we just didn’t think about it. We qualified, but we’re not very happy about the quality of our game. We will focus on it and try to improve in the main draw.”

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

Beach team Larsen/Stockman on their game expectations 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸😎😎😎 @KelleyJLarsen @estock2 @FIVBVolleyball @usavolleyball @USAVBeach

The other qualified teams are USA’s Lauren Fendrick/Sarah Sponcil and Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman, Slovakia’s Natalia Dubovcova/Andrea Strbova, Spain’s Angela Lobato/Amaranta Fernández, Finland’s Taru Lathi/Anniina Parkkinen and Canada's Taylor Pischke/Jamie Broder.

Click here to see the results.

Do you love rallies? Of course you do 🤩 Watch all the action from #ViennaMajor live or back on demand on BeachStream [link in bio 🙋‍♀️] @a1telekom @swatch @redbull @viennatouristboard

249 Likes, 1 Comments - Beach Volleyball Major Series (@beachmajorseries) on Instagram: "Do you love rallies? Of course you do 🤩 Watch all the action from #ViennaMajor live or back on..."

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