Sochi, Russia, September 12, 2015 – Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser eased into the final four of the FIVB World Tour Sochi Open on Saturday with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) win over Spain’s Francisco Tomas and Cesar Menendez Ortego.
In the semifinal, later this afternoon, the third seeded Americans will encounter Russia’s top seeds Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov who were challenged by fellow Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin in their quarterfinal: 21-11, 21-23, 15-11.
Playing the Russians will be the first real challenge in Sochi, Dalhausser said. “We had a nice draw into the semifinals. But with that said, we could have easily played down to their level and lose. So it’s on us to stay mentally focussed and stick to the correct technique and just play well. But our next match will be our toughest match of the tournament by far.”
Italy and Latvia in other semi
The other semifinal will feature second seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins from Latvia and fourth seeded Daniel Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.
The Italians defeated Alexey Sidorenko and Aleksandr Dyachenko of Kazachstan 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) in the quarterfinal, while the Latvians beat Poland’s Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-6).
“We didn’t play our best”, Smedins said about losing the second set to Poland. “We couldn’t score the ball and they played very well. We came back in the end of the set and we played good defence but we couldn’t score. If we would have set the ball a bit better for each other it would have been 2-0.”
“We feel we are not in our best shape because of the long travels, we are a bit too slow”, he said about their form. “Normally we can attack the fast ball. We’re not so powerful like one or two weeks ago because of the long trips and time zones. But we will go rest a bit, eat and then we take on Italy.”
The Latvians and Italians met six times before on the World Tour, with Lupo and Nicolai winning the last five encounters.