Jurmala, Latvia, August 24, 2019 – Slovenia’s Nejc Zemljak/Jan Pokeršnik are in action at the Jurmala 3-Star in the lead-up to the season finale at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Rome on September 4, 2019.
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Zemljak/Pokeršnik enter the World Tour Finals qualification tournament joining the likes of Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins to fight for a spot in the main draw. Zemljak/Pokeršnik met the local favourites one day earlier in Jurmala pool play before meeting another family member, Toms Smedins and Haralds Regza in the first round of single elimination.
Zemljak/Pokeršnik’s took the win over Regza/Smedins,T, 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) to enter round two of Jurmala single elimination.
“Every time we win it feels great and you know it’s never easy, especially when you play against a local team, and experienced guys like this. I think Smedins comes from one of the best volleyball families there are out there so, you know they are always going to play some very good volleyball,” said Zemljak.
Nejc Zemljak and Jan Pokeršnik (SLO) during their Jurmala match against Samoilovs/Smedins (LAT)
Zemljak/Pokeršnik are no strangers to Jurmala, playing in the 2017 CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships and the 2016 CEV Jurmala Masters.
“This is our third time in Jurmala and every time so far it’s been a great tournament for us. We enjoy this venue, every time we get to be at the beach, it’s always better than in the city, so it’s a great place and we enjoy being here,” said Zemljak.
Zemljak/Pokeršnik have been playing on the FIVB World Tour since 2013 and most recently took silver at the Ljubljana 1-Star at the beginning of the month. A main draw position is the first aim for this year’s FIVB World Tour Finals.
“Firstly we think it’s a great idea making it more of a 5-Star, so this gives everyone a fair chance to compete so this is great. I think we all want more tournaments and especially those high level tournaments. At this point we’re a bit of a lower seed so we’re going to take our chances and everyone wants to compete at the best tournaments against the best teams and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Zemljak.
Nejc Zemljak in Jurmala (SLO)
“We had a lot of up and downs this year, we have been trying our best and travelling a lot. The season is short so we have been trying our best to keep our cool and compete at the best level,” said Pokeršnik.
“Our first goal is always to win games, obviously because we’re playing in the qualification it’s to qualify and from then see what we can do,” said Zemljak.