2018-08-01 14:01:00 CEST
Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka step up on the big stage
The first game of the tournament on a packed Red Bull Beach Arena can be a daunting experience for any seasoned beach volleyball player.
But for Latvian rising stars Tina Graudina, 20, and Anastasija Kravcenoka, 21, their Beach Major Series main draw debut was one they will never forget as the youngsters beat Austria’s Lena Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schützenhöfer on the main court.
The straight sets win is enough to book a place in the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch elimination round.
And the duo, who came into the tournament with a silver medal from last week’s Euro Under-22 Championships, want more after their opening win over the home favorites.
“It was amazing, it was so cool to go out there – when I first went on court I got goosebumps,” said Tina. “I’ve seen Major events on the television, with the fans clapping their hands and cheering, so to experience that in person was amazing.
“Now we want to go on and win again. It doesn’t end here after a win like that. This is the first time we’ve won a game after losing in a final, too, so to do that here in Vienna is great.”
Tina and Anastasija are enjoying their first season on the World Tour and have already stamped two excellent ninth places in tournaments in Espinho and Lucerne.
Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter
What a way to introduce yourself to the #ViennaMajor! Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka stun Austria and then get interviewed by fellow Latvian @plavins_martins! 🇱🇻 https://t.co/0W1xp1fxzI
As proud Latvians they also can draw inspiration from the two veteran men’s teams who are Major Series regulars, Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Janis Smedins, Edgars Tocs and Martins Plavins.
“We are so glad to have such strong men’s teams from Latvian to learn from,” said Tina, who is a student at University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “We watch them play and practice a lot and it’s good that they’re able to give us little tips and help us. We’re very happy.”
The pair will now face Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artatcho del Solar for the right to win Pool H on court 4 at 4.30pm CET.
Watch the game, like them all, on BeachStream.