Katrin Holtwick helped Germany to an undefeated first day of competition
Campinas, Brazil, May 29, 2013 - Under cloudy skies and in chilly conditions, teams from Brazil, USA, Germany and Russia were all unbeaten in pool play of the women's draw on the first day of the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Final in Campinas, Brazil.
First on centre court at 09:00 (local time) in pool A fourth seeds Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany beat Canada's Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney 2-0 (21-10, 21-17), then followed that up with a tougher three-set win, 2-1 (21-14, 16-21, 15-9), against Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic.
"We knew our second match was our important one," said Semmler. "It's probably the match for who is going to be out [qualify] from the pool and we're pretty happy that we won it. We can go now a little bit more relaxed into the last two matches."
Germany's pool A rivals, Brazil's Maria Antonelli and Talita Da Rocha Antunes, back together for this tournament after success with new partners in 2013, also won their first two matches on day one of the tournament, not dropping a set with 2-0 victories against Mauritius (21-6, 21-4) and Canada (21-12, 21-10).
"We were able to find our rhythm in these two matches," said Talita. "Four years of partnership did not end in five months. It was easy to play with Maria. It is good to remember good things. The game against Canada showed what was our pair. I hope we are able to hold that level during the tournament."
Brazil and Germany will meet in the last round of pool A matches on Thursday.
In pool B in the women's draw, Olympic silver medallists April Ross and Jennifer Kessy were pushed a little harder than their Brazilian rivals, but also recorded a pair of victories on day one. A 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) victory against Argentina was followed up with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win against Australia's new pairing of Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy.
"We're always building, finding out and learning as we go," said Bawden. "It's a different situation every game, something different comes at you and it's a challenge to build the team work and bring the best of your skills each time. We're working hard on that."
The Australian pair face Argentina at 09:00 (local time) on Thursday, but meet the fourth undefeated team in the women's draw, Russia's Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova, in the their key pool match later in the day.
Ukolova-Khomyakova started their day with a quick 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) win against third seeds Greta Cicolari and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy, and finished off the day's play at Parque do Taquaral with another 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) win against Argentina. They face Ross-Kessy of the USA in their first match on Thursday morning.
There were also four matches in the men's draw on Wednesday with the tournament's top four seeds, Jacob Gibb and Casey Patterson from United States, Brazil's Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego, Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik from Germany and Latvia's Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins all taking victory.
Erdmann-Matysik worked hardest for their win, needing just under an hour to take the match 2-1 (21-12, 18-21, 21-19) with a close third-set win against Canada's Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk.