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Slovakian Strbova’s successful start

 
Natalia Dubocova (left) celebrates a point Thursday at the Dela Beach Open with Slovak Republic partner Andrea Strbova, who is playing in her first-ever FIVB World Tour event.
The Hague, The Netherlands, June 15, 2017 - Playing in her first-ever FIVB World Tour event, Andrea Strbova of the Slovak Republic is achieving success as she has won her first three matches at the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open with veteran Natalia Dubovcova.

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The 21-year old Strbova, who was born on Christmas day in 1995, is just beginning her career as an international Beach Volleyball player as the Dela Beach Open is only her third-ever event with her two previous tournaments being on the Slovak Republic national tour.

Seeded 31st in the 32-team Dela Beach Open Main Draw, Strbova and Dubovcova posted the biggest upset here Thursday morning during the opening “modified” pool play rounds with a 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-10) Pool B victory in 48 minutes over second-seeded Chantel Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany.

To gain entrance to the “money” rounds for the FIVB World Tour event, Strbova and Dubovcova had to win two qualifying matches Wednesday over higher-seeded teams with victories over 15th-seeded Lane Carico/Caitlin Ledoux of the United States 2-0 (22-20, 21-12) and second-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Angela Lobato of Spain 2-0 (21-17, 21-16).

“Winning two qualification matches yesterday was already a big achievement for us,” said 26-year old Dubovcova, who is starting her ninth season on the World Tour with the Dela Beach Open being her 71st FIVB event.  “We were a little bit under pressure because this is our first tournament and I was really proud we made it and are playing in main draw. “

Dubovcova, who netted three FIVB World Tour bronze medals with former partner Dominika Nestarcova, said “Andrea was a bit nervous this morning.  I told her before the match just to believe in it, we can do it.  Don't think about the pressure.  Just play the best we can.  I think we already reached our goal, which was to qualify for main draw.  This is like a dream to defeat the second-seeded Germans in our first main draw match.”

With the win over Laboureur and Sude, who are playing in their 45th FIVB World Tour event together, Strbova and Dubovcova are guaranteed a spot in Friday’s 24-team elimination bracket and can earn of a first-round “bye” by winning Pool B if the Slovak Republic pair can defeat 15th-seeded qualifiers Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado of Brazil.

Antonelli and Salgado, who have combined to participate in 261 FIVB World Tour events, had to qualify for the Dela Beach Open via the Brazilian country quota process with two wins Tuesday followed by a forfeit victory Wednesday, opened play Thursday with a 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 15-11) win in 46 minutes over 18th-seeded Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen of Finland.


Brazil vs. Finland on the indoor sand Thursday

With the Dela Beach Open featuring men’s play, the women complete pool action Thursday with the eight pool winners securing a “bye” into the second-round of elimination Friday afternoon and are guaranteed a ninth-place finish in the event.  With the fourth-place finishers in each group ousted from the seventh double gender event on the FIVB World Tour calendar this season, the second- and third-place pairs will meet in Friday first-round of elimination.

The Dela Beach Open quarter- and semi-final rounds will be played Saturday with the medal matches set for Sunday where the winning teams will share the $10,000 first-place prizes.




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