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Paf Open | Women
  28/08/2012 - 2/09/2012

Holtwick and Semmler aim for another semifinal

Germany's Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler
Mariehamn, Finland, August 30, 2012 – Even after finishing third two weeks ago at the Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki second seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler were hesitant to say that they aim for another medal in Aland. But at the end of their first day at the Paf Open and with two straight wins under their belt the Germans cautiously admitted that they were at least looking for the semifinals in Finland.

It was not an attempt to be modest, they said. The German duo played a lot of matches these past weeks and they are feeling a bit tired. ’’It has been a long season’’, Semmler said. ’’We played a lot of matches in Stare Jablonki and had a busy schedule last week at the German Championship too.’’ They were rewarded for their hard work though, winning bronze in Poland, their first medal this year, and capturing the German title last weekend.

In a rematch of that German Championship final Holtwick and Semmler beat their compatriots Geeske Banck and Kira Walkenhorst again on Thursday in Aland: 21-18 21-15. In the first round they had send off Sweden’s Sofia Ogren and Anna Asberg, also in just two sets (21-14 21-13).

'Ein gutes Pferd'

Holtwick: ’’We knew winning two games today was a lot easier than ending up in the loser’s bracket. But we tried to save energy. We have a saying in German: ’Ein gutes Pferd springt nur so hoch wie es muss’. A clever horse will only jump as high as it has to.’’ Semmler: ’’It is the first time this year we are seeded this high, but we will take it game by game.’’

Also without set loss after two rounds of main draw were Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta da Silva. The top seeded pair aims to secure the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour title in Aland, as their direct rivals Chen Xue/Zhang Xi are absent on the Finnish Islands. On the first day of this mission they defeated home team Essi Hasu and Henna Pollari (21-9 21-8) and continued with a 21-13 21-10 win over Germany’s Jana Köhler and Anni Schumacher.

For host country Finland the Paf Open did not go so well. All the Finnish teams lost their first match and the next in the loser’s bracket. Finland’s top team Erika and Emilia Nystrom was incomplete. Emilia contracted stomach flu in Bulgaria last week, so Erika teamed up with Saana Koljonen at the last minute.

Koljonen came in on Wednesday and debuted on the World Tour with two losses against Dutch Marloes Wesselink/Jolien Sinnema (21-19 21-14) and German qualifiers Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner (21-9 21-15). ’’We could have won the first match, there were chances’’, Nystrom said. ’’But we made some stupid mistakes and lost our concentration.’’

Inseparable twins

In over ten years on the World Tour it was only the second time Erika played without her twin sister Emilia. ’’It feels weird without her, I miss her. We are together all the time, in and outside the court as well.’’ Although she had never played with Koljonen before, she even never met her before, her temporary partner was not the reason for losing. ’’For some reason I have never been lucky at the Paf Open. I think in four years we only won one match.’’

The tournament in Mariehamn, on one of the beautiful Aland Islands in front of the Finnish coast, continues on Friday with the third and fourth round and three rounds in the loser’s bracket. Still unbeaten besides Larissa/Juliana and Holtwick/Semmler are third seeded Swiss Kuhn/Zumkehr, Russia’s Ukolova/Khomyakova (7) and Vozakova/Vasina (4), Brazil’s Maria Clara/Lili (12), Spain’s Liliana/Baquerizo (8) and Klapalova/Hajeckova (11) from the Czech Republic.

The fifth edition of the Paf Open, for the first time a single gender tournament, is the penultimate event on the 2012 women’s calendar. At the end of October their World Tour season ends in Bangsaen, Thailand. The men already finished the 2012 season two weeks ago in Stare Jablonki.   
More press releases
2/09/2012 First gold medal for Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler
1/09/2012 Spain’s Liliana/Baquerizo play their first career final in Aland
1/09/2012 Ukolova/Khomyakova eliminate Juliana/Larissa to reach final four in Aland
31/08/2012 Liliana/Baquerizo and Kuhn/Zumkehr reach Paf Open semifinals
30/08/2012 Thai team goes Europe
30/08/2012 Holtwick and Semmler aim for another semifinal
29/08/2012 Austria, Germany and the Netherlands advance two teams into the Paf Open main draw
29/08/2012 Germany’s Bieneck/Grossner earns spot in Aland qualification
28/08/2012 Brazil’s Larissa/Juliana lead the field in Aland
20/08/2012 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour season update
11/06/2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour women’s Paf Open set for Aland