The 2017 GrandSlam Latin legs in Helsinki, FIN, and in Wuhan, CHN, went to Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus, MDA, with the Russians Armen Tsaturyan and Svetlana Gudyno as the runners-up in both occasions. It looked as if the dominators in Latin would continue their winning streak well into 2017, even with the realistic chance to stay undefeated for another year. That’s when the upset came – suddenly and unexpectedly: Armen and Svetlana claimed the title at the European Championship in Cambrils, ESP. It was their second after 2015. Gabriele and Anna were relegated to second place and disappointed. But not for long.
Just six weeks later in Faenza, ITA, the Moldovans were living up to Gabriele’s life motto of “Born to win!” once more, as they were able to take their revenge and defeat the Russians in an International Open. Would Juventus have done the same with Real Madrid in the Champions League Final in Cardiff, GBR, one week later, the power of everything would have been in perfect balance again for Gabriele and Anna, both ardent "tifosi" of the Vecchia Signora. But everybody knows how that final ended.
With virtually all top Latin couples present here in Hong Kong, we can look forward to lots of exceptional dancing at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on Saturday 8 July. For those who don’t know: 8 July is the birthday of Armen Tsaturyan. And birthdays seem to go well with victories: Gabriele found out about it last year. He won the GrandSlam Helsinki on his.
But let’s not think that there are only these two couples in contention for the top echelon on the Hong Kong podium: Germans Marius-Andrei Balan - Khrystyna Moshenska and Timur Imametdinov - Nina Bezzubova stand poised to take over at any time, should the two favourites not be inspired. Marius-Andrei and Khrystyna, so the unconfirmed rumours, have also gone south to expand their horizons. Training on a daily basis together with most of the others who will likely dance in today’s final should take the surprises out of the equation.