Russians look for rich returns in doubles

Baku, June 27, AZERTAC

World no.2 pairing Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark will meet their Russian rivals Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov for the first European Games men's doubles gold medal at Baku Sports Hall on Saturday.

The top-seeded Danes defeated Raphael Beck and Andreas Heinz of Germany 21-18, 21-17 in their semi-final on Friday.

Ivanov and Sozonov – who beat Boe and Mogensen on their way to European championships gold last year – defeated Irish brothers Josh and Sam Magee 21-5, 21-9, with Josh Magee's jumping ability easily matched by the 197cm / 6'6" Ivanov.

"We weren't expecting it to be so easy," said Sozonov. "The problem for the Magees is it's their first serious competition."

"They are more used to playing mixed doubles," added Ivanov. "So they are not prepared for certain moves."

"It was like David and Goliath," admitted Sam Magee

The women's doubles final will also be between the favourites for gold.

Bulgarian top-seeded sisters Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva brushed past Turks Osge Bayrak and Neslihan Yigit on Friday, and will take on second seeds Ekaterina Bolotova and Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia.

The Russians are the only pair to have dropped a set on the way to either final, thanks to fighting through three sets in their semi to beat Danes Lena Grebak and Maria Helsbol.

Friday's losing semi-finalists all go home from Baku with bronze medals.

The men's and women's doubles finals start at 18:00 on Saturday.

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