We are in Rimini, Italy, and the second day of the GrandSlam series is soon to commence, but we cannot forget about the excitement that filled the halls of the Rimini Expo Centre just last night! From a total of 148 couples, one champion couple was crowned—Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite of Lithuania achieved their third WDSF GrandSlam title of their careers, making them the undefeated champions of the 2019 series.
And Round 1 Begins
A total of 16 star couples participated in the event, which meant their exclusion from the first round. Round 1 therefore commenced with 132 pairs taking the floor in 11 heats. Sixty couples made it through directly into Round 2, while the remaining 72 couples received their second chance to make it through into the next round by dancing the redance. From the redance round, 20 additional couples joined the already accepted 60, equaling a total of 80 duos. To this 80, we add the 16 star couples and receive a total of 96 couples dancing Round 2.
From 96 couples, half were cut ahead of Round 3—only 48 couples were selected to continue their GrandSlam journey in Rimini. The heat was definitely on, not just in terms of competition, but also because the weather was quite warm inside the arena and outdoors. The summer always packs a punch for the athletes during any competitive event, which means lots of hydration and acute awareness on the part of the organizers to make sure a medical team is on standby at all times in case of any emergencies in such heat during the adrenaline and push of competition.
And then 25 couples advanced to the quarterfinal. Roberto Carano and Francesca Francini of Italy made the second GrandSlam quarterfinal of their careers! They have only danced four GrandSlams together since starting their competitive journey as a team in 2016. Actually, the 2018 Rimini GrandSlam was their first GrandSlam together in which they made the quarterfinal, eventually taking 24th. Now they are back and secured the 22nd position.
Down to the Semifinal
Then it was down to the top 12, or shall we say the top 13! Once again the usual count of the next round was increased by one couple. It was a successful evening for Qiu Yuming and Wei Liying of China who made the semi once again. While in Taipei last month, their results jumped down to 19th position in the quarterfinal, but they bounced back without a doubt finishing in 10th here in Rimini.
Also, the intense battle that usually goes down between Vadim Shurin and Anastasia Meshkova of Latvia and Tomas Fainsil and Violetta Posmetnaya of Germany was concluded with Germany leading in eighth place by only 0.92 of a point, having Latvia finish in ninth. Their roles switched since just one month ago when they competed in the Taipei GrandSlam.
The Final Stays the Same
And as predicted the final six placements were the exact same as in the previous two GrandSlams of this year.
Evaldas Sodeika - Ieva Zukauskaite
Francesco Galuppo - Debora Pacini
Evgeny Moshenin - Dana Spitsyna
Alexey Glukhov - Anastasia Glazunova
Vaidotas Lacitis - Veronika Golodneva
Evgeny Nikitin - Anastasia Miliutina
The closest scoring of the final was between Alexey Glukhov and Anastasia Glazunova of Russia and Vaidotas Lacitis and Veronika Golodneva of Lithuania, with Russia taking fourth with just a 0.666 lead.
All of the couples loved the atmosphere exuded by the beautiful Black Arena, as it was known at the Rimini Expo Centre. With the décor, lighting, and overall atmosphere, not to mention the grandiose size of this event in general, Rimini has stepped up its game this year to produce a competition that beat all doubts and parameters of capability and possibility.
We now await the results of the Latin segment. Stay tuned everyone!