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Myslowice Open | Women
  17/05/2011 - 22/05/2011

Double Olympic champion books place in Myslowice main draw with new partner

I have a lot of respect for the girls who do this week in, week out, it is do or die, all or nothing - Walsh said
Myslowice, Poland, May 18, 2011 – Two-time US Olympic champion Kerri Walsh, participating in the qualification phase on the FIVB Swatch World Tour for the first time in her career, successfully progressed with new partner Brittany Hochevar with two victories at the Myslowice Open on Wednesday.

The number eight seeds in qualifying beat the Netherlands’ Marielle Kloek and Merel Mooren, ranked 25th from country quota, 21-15, 21-11 and 24th ranked Wang Fan and Ma Yuanyuan of China 21-14, 21-19 to seal a place in the 32-team main draw, which starts Thursday.

An injury to Walsh’s Olympic champion partner Misty May-Treanor in Sanya saw the 32-year-old three-time world champion partner Hochevar in their first Swatch World Tour tournament together in Myslowice.

“It was really stressful, I have a lot of respect for the girls who do this week in, week out, it is do or die, all or nothing,” Walsh, who has won 32 titles on the Swatch World Tour since making her debut in 2001, said. “I’m really enjoying it though, I’m treating it as great preparation for the World Championships where the Main Draw is sudden death. It’s like the first game at the Olympic Games where every match is on the line.”

“I have to give credit to Brittany who has been superb. We have great communication, combination and want to win and they are three things that will take us far in this tournament.”

“This says a lot about Kerri Walsh as a competitor and a warrior,” Hochevar, who has a best place finish of 17th from six tournaments since making her debut on the Swatch World Tour in 2009, said. “It’s dog eat dog and now we’re finding our tempo and settings I can see that this is going to be lots of fun.”

Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin, seeded 16th in qualifying, caused the upset of the day by knocking Finnish sisters Erika and Emilia Nystrom out of the tournament in a tight three-set match. The British pairing beat the top seeds in qualifying 22-20, 18-21, 15-12.

“We had a good tournament in Shanghai (the 13th place finish was Dampney and Mullin’s second best result on the Swatch World Tour after a ninth place finish at Kristiansand in 2009) and we went home and put in work to consolidate how we want to play our game,” Mullin said.

“We were disciplined with our block defence,” Dampney added. “We were putting our all into the crucial points at the end of the sets. We’re looking long term and think we have a chance of a top three position at the London Olympics. On our day we can do anything.”

Both Brazil and USA are the best represented nations in the main draw, which starts on Thursday at 10:00 (local time), with four teams each. Brazil’s Talita and Antonelli are top seeds, followed by defending world champions Jen Kessy and April Ross from the United States and China’s Xue and Zhang Xi.

For more info contact FIVB Media Operations Delegate: Richard Baker    
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