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Maria Antonelli and Juliana pushed hard, but into Gstaad main draw

Brazil's Maria Antonelli can now look forward to the women's main draw in Gstaad
Gstaad, Switzerland, July 8, 2014 – Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta were pushed hard in their Gstaad Grand Slam qualification match by Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe on Tuesday, but eventually won to make it through to the start of pool play.

The Brazilian pair needed to dig deep in three sets, but eventually defeated the Japanese pair 2-1 (21-9, 19-21, 15-12).

“They played very well and they defended very well and we made a lot of mistakes putting the ball out in defence,” Maria Antonelli said. “We focused hard at the end of the match and now we are in the main draw.”

The pair have been playing together on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour since the start of the year and they have already won silver medals from the Berlin Grand Slam and the Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico. 

Having now completed the qualification rounds they are now awaiting the start of main draw and who will stand between them and similar success in the Swiss Alps.

“We have a good vibe and we get on well,” Maria Antonelli added. “We are learning a lot with each other and it is getting better and better during the tournaments.”

Also into the main draw are Czech duo Martina Bonnerova and Barbara Hermannova.

The pair needed to win two matches to progress, but after defeating Dutch pair Laura Bloem and Marloes Wesselink 2-0 (26-24, 21-19), they repeated the performance by beating Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee 2-0 (24-22, 21-17).

It means the pair are into their first Grand Slam main draw since the Moscow Grand Slam, having missed out in Berlin and Stavanger. 

“They were both two really tight matches,” Bonnerova said. “We were quite nervous because we knew we had the chance to reach the main draw and we wanted it so much.”

The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, July 9 until Sunday July 13 when the men’s and women’s medal matches take place. It is the ninth event and the fifth 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 Transavia Hague Grand Slam which runs from July 15-20.

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