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2018-08-15 11:10:00 CET

Russians happy to be in Hamburg

Rising stars of Russia relishing big stage

Oleg (left) and Igor (spiking) in action on their World Tour Finals debutOleg (left) and Igor (spiking) in action on their World Tour Finals debut

Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko could not be happier to be in Hamburg – even if their first match of the Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone began with a defeat.

The Russians, just 23 and 21 years-old, have enjoyed a great first season together, with four medals on the World Tour lifting them into the top 10.

And despite their straight sets loss to Polish pair Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor, Oleg and Igor are pleased that their performances this season have led to them to a place in the Finals.

“It’s an amazing feeling to take part in such a big event,” said blocker Oleg. “To play in front of so many spectators against the top 10 in the world is great.

“We never thought we would play in this tournament at the start of the season but we had some good results so we could play here.”

Defender Igor added: “It’s perfect for us, especially in our first season together. We’re very happy.”

The team come into the tournament off the back of a bronze medal in their home four-star tournament in Moscow last week.

But after their first defeat here, the pressure is on for them to get a result against home favorites Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole on the Red Bull Beach Arena at 9pm CEST tonight.

“We beat them last week so they for sure will want revenge,” added Oleg. “It’s the first time I will have played a night match so I’m looking forward to it.”

Victorious Poles Kantor/Losiak were happy to start their Hamburg title tilt with a victory as they aim to go one better than last year’s fourth place.

“In the last two years here we’ve finished fifth and fourth, so we will really fight for a medal this year,” says Bartosz. “The Russians are a young team and there are a lot of good teams here so it’s not going to be easy.”

Kantor/Losiak’s next test comes at 6pm CEST against Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins. It’s a game you can watch live on BeachStream.

And we're off! Watch all the action from #HamburgFinals live on BeachStream [link in bio☝️] @kantybv @kantorlosiakbvt @oleg.stoyanovskiy @velichko_ov @vodafone_de @hamburg_de @redbullgermany

361 Likes, 1 Comments - Beach Volleyball Major Series (@beachmajorseries) on Instagram: "And we're off! Watch all the action from #HamburgFinals live on BeachStream [link in bio☝️]..."

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