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smart Grand Slam Berlin 2012 | Women
  11/07/2012 - 15/07/2012

Holtwick and Semmler keep German hopes alive by reaching semifinals

Katrin Holtwick (left) and Ilka Semmler have kept German hopes alive that they will witness a home victory
Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2012 – Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler ensured there would be a German presence on the final day of the smart Grand Slam, Berlin when they reached the semifinals on Saturday.

The number eight seeds beat Australia’s Natalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley 17-21, 21-17, 15-12 in their quarterfinal to reach the last four. Earlier in the day they defeated Swiss pair Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre in the second knockout round.

“It very fantastic to play in our home city of Berlin and have the entire crowd behind us,” Holtwick said. “It was a very tough match and we made some stupid mistakes at the start of the third and we really had to find our form.”

The Berlin crowd was desperate for the German pair to win after they had watched the other local teams get knocked out throughout the week. On Saturday their fellow German pairings Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller, and Jana Kohler and Anni Schumacher were both eliminated.

“Without them it would have been difficult to play the third set because we were 8-4 down and I was thinking how much we would have to fight to win the game,” Semmler said. “The crowd pushed us along with their screaming and helped us a lot. They were really supporting us and we had to win here.”

Next up for Holtwick and Semmler are Chinese pair Chen Xue and Zhang Xi. The first seeds enjoyed a straightforward two set win over Brazilian qualifiers Liliane Maestrini and Angela Vieira to progress to their fifth semifinal of 2012.

Also into the last four are Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari who were pushed hard by US pair Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. The Americans won the first set, but the Italians dug into take the second and then squeezed through the tie-break for a 20-22, 21-19, 19-17 victory.

“It is always like this,” Menegatti said. “They are a very, very strong team and one of the very best around. Playing them is very difficult and we are delighted because every match is like a war, a big struggle and a battle. So we are delighted to have won.”

The win ends a three-match streak in which Kessy and Ross finished victorious and it is only the second time in 11 meetings that Menegatti and Cicolari have won. The last time they met was at this year’s smart Grand Slam, Rome when the US pair won in three sets to claim the bronze medal. 

“You are always highly motivated against those two,” Menegatti added. “It was a shame in Rome because we were very close; we got to 13 in the tie-break.”

Menegatti and Cicolari’s win sets up a semifinal against 2011 FIVB World Champions Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta, who beat the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova in straight sets.

The smart Grand Slam Berlin is the seventh of nine mixed gender tournaments on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour and the eighth women’s tournament of the year. The women’s final is scheduled to take place on Sunday July 15 and the winning side will leave with the largest share from a purse of $300,000 per gender.

The Berlin tournament is the penultimate before the London 2012 Olympic Games in which 24 women’s and men’s teams will play for gold at London’s Horse Guard’s Parade.

The women’s calendar is set to culminate with the Bang Saen Thailand Open powered by PTT in Thailand which runs from October 23-28.
More press releases
15/07/2012 Juliana and Larissa ensure double Brazilian delight in Berlin
14/07/2012 Holtwick and Semmler keep German hopes alive by reaching semifinals
13/07/2012 Swiss duo out to extend winning run of form in Berlin
12/07/2012 Bieneck and Grossner victory sets up chance of reaching knockout rounds
11/07/2012 Liliane and Vieira win through qualification to reach main draw in Berlin
10/07/2012 Akers and Hochevar into qualifying rounds after winning USA country quota
21/05/2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour returns to Germany