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First-time semifinalists Dubovcova and Nestarcova on course for taste of glory in Stavanger

Dominika Nestarcova was in the mood to shout after reaching the Stavanger Grand Slam semifinals
Stavanger, Norway, June 27, 2014 – Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova reached new heights after they beat Wang Fan and Yue Yuan in the Stavanger Grand Slam quarterfinals to reach their first ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour semi final.

The Slovakian’s win sets up a clash against number one seeds April Ross and Kerri Walsh of the USA. In the second semifinal Dutch duo Madelein Meppelink and Marleen van Iersel take on Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo.

After a tough match against the Swiss team Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre in round two, they won comfortably against the China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue 2-0 (21-14, 21-15).

"We were really focused on this match because we knew if we took on what we did in our group we could win the match,” said Dubovcova. 

The match was the first time the Slovakians had met the Chinese on the World Tour, but they played Ross and Walsh a week ago in the second elimination round of the Berlin Grand Slam. 

“We played them last week and we played pretty well, but it was the first time we played against them,” Dubovcova added. “We knew they are the best team in the world, so we were a little bit scared maybe, but now we know what they can do so we will try our best.”

Ross and Walsh beat compatriots Emily and Summer Ross in their quarterfinal, to remain on course to match their victory at the Moscow Grand Slam two weeks ago.  

“We had a tough game earlier today, and I wanted to erase that and come out and play great for this huge game,” Walsh said. “The quarterfinal is always a big match, because it buys you another day of life, so this was such a big match and I am so proud of how we played. 

“I am so excited about the semifinal. We do not care who we play, we know it will be tough. We played Slovakia last week in Germany and it was a tough match. We just want to keep playing well.”

Dutch duo on course to repeat Moscow medal 

Van Iersel and Meppelink needed to stay focused during a tense match against Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas that swung both ways before the European champions won.

They required two match points, but claimed the victory with the second to win 2-1 (21-13, 21-23, 15-12). 

“It feels amazing,” van Iersel said. “We've come a long way from the start of this tournament. We won the first two matches, but lost our third and finished second in our pool, so had to play three matches today.

“It was three-setters three times, so very tough, but we made it.” 

They will meet Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez in their semi-final, after the Spanish duo beat Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) to set up a repeat of the bronze medal match from the Moscow.

“I think both teams were kind of tired because the sand here is so deep and it is kind of hard to move,” Baquerizo said, “but I think we had really good defence and block, and we maintained our side out. We also served very good, so I think we did a good job.

“I am so excited about the semi-final. We know the game will be tough. We just want to keep playing well.” 

The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 25 until Sunday June 29. It is the eighth event and the fourth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Gstaad Grand Slam which runs from July 9-13.

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