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Mazury Orlen Grand Slam | Women
  13/08/2012 - 18/08/2012

Holtwick and Semmler knock out Kessy and Ross on way to semifinals

Katrin Holtwick (left) and Ilka Semmler are into the semifinals of the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam after beating Jennifer Kessy and April Ross
Stare Jablonki, Poland, August 17, 2012 – Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler had to be at their very best to knock out Olympic silver medallists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross on their way to the semifinals at the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam on Friday.

The German pair won 21-18, 18-21, 15-12 to ensure that they will at least match their best FIVB SWATCH World Tour finishes of 2012, which were fourth place finishes at the Beijing and Berlin Grand Slams.

“It was a tough match, as we knew from when we played them before,” Holtwick said. “Ross and Kessy really pushed us hard with their serving and we needed a few minutes to find our game. From the second half of the first set we played really well.

“We lost the second because of the strong serving of Kessy and Ross, but you have to accept that that will sometimes happen when you play them.”

Holtwick and Semmler reached the first knockout round for a ninth place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games before they returned to the Horse Guard’s Parade arena to cheer their male compatriots Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann on to the men’s gold medal.

They have yet to win a medal themselves in 2012 and their most recent appearance on a World Tour podium came when they won silver at the 2011 Beijing Grand Slam.

Even so they are in good spirits ahead of their semifinal against Olympic bronze medallists Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta, who defeated compatriots Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes.

“We didn’t feel any pressure, we just had fun on court,” Semmler said. “A lot of good things happened because of that. It makes things easier for you.”

The other semifinal is between Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova and Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti. The Russian’s beat the Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova 21-19, 14-21, 15-11, while Cicolari and Menegatti defeated Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado and Liliane Maestrini 21-19, 21-13.

“It is the second time that a Russian women’s team has reached a semifinal,” Ukolova said. “It was a tough match, we have already played them a lot this season and this was our fifth, so we know each other really well.

“This season we have played the Italians a lot of times. Over the last two years we have played them four times and won only once, so will try to get our second win against them tomorrow.”

The Mazury Orlen Grand Slam is the ninth of nine mixed gender tournaments on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour and the 10th women’s tournament of the year. The winning side will leave with the largest share from a pot of $300,000 per gender.

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.
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