SAN JOSE, Calif. —Latvians Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs won the men’s title and Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson won the women’s at the inaugural p1440 pro-beach event Sunday.
Each winning pair split $28,000.
Plavins and Samoilovs beat Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum in the final 21-19, 21-19. In the semifinals, they knocked out Americans Miles Evans and Billy Kolinske 21-19, 21-14, while Mol and Sorum ousted Americans Jeremy Casebeer and Reid Priddy 19-21, 21-17, 15-13.
“It’s a huge win, because Norway is the best team in the world, and the European champions, the World Tour Finals champions, and finished on top of the world tour rankings,” Plavins said. “They’re on fire this year, and everybody wants to beat them so hard, and I’m so happy that we could do it here in the final of San Jose. It’s unbelievable emotions, and I’m really happy.”
Bansley and Wilkerson beat Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado 21-16, 21-15 in the final. Earlier, they knocked out Brazilian Taiana Lima and Jolien Sinnema of the Netherlands in the semifinals 18-21, 22-20, 15-8, while Antonelli and Salgado put American Kerri Walsh Jennings and Swiss teammate Anouk Vérge-Dépré out 21-16, 21-15. This event, of course, was the brainchild of Walsh Jennings, the Olympic great who has created her own tour.
“It’s definitely a confidence boost,” Wilkerson said. “It’s been a couple of weeks without playing any events, and just to get back into rhythm, to find our style of play, to stay connected with our team back home, and continue to work on us and our relationship. Things are coming together, we’re not going to slow down at all, we know that anything can happen in the future.”
The Canadians will play in a NORCECA event this week but will be back for the p1440 event in Las Vegas later in October.
This was a rare tournament where players from different countries could partner.
“I am so happy that there are other organizations that are making tournaments, and growing the sport,” Samoilovs said. “To have competition between promoters is really important, to find new things to make tournaments better, because there are a limited number of professional players. Tournaments try to be better to have better players, so hopefully tournaments will become bigger and better so I think the level of beach volleyball will grow.”