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Brazilian pair don't hang around to reach main draw at Berlin smart Grand Slam

Agatha Bednarczuk (facing) and Maria Antonelli celebrated reaching the Berlin smart Grand Slam main draw after a 2-0 win over Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe
Berlin, Germany, August 7, 2013 – Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli made light work of the Berlin smart Grand Slam qualification round when they beat Takemi Nishibori and Sayaka Mizoe to be one of eight teams to reach the women’s main draw on Wednesday.
The Brazilian pair beat their Japanese counterparts 2-0 (21-13, 21-18) in 33 minutes. 

“This is the first qualification tournament for Maria and me and we just focused on playing well,” Agatha said. “We didn’t give the other team any chances and I think we did what we had to do today.”

Agatha and Maria Antonelli have been together from the start of the year and they have already a medal to their names after they won silver at the Corrientes Grand Slam, the second tournament of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season. 

Now that they are through to pool play, they hope to add to their collection, but know that it will be a tough task to do so. 

“We hope to have a good tournament from tomorrow,” Agatha added. “All the good teams are here; in Long Beach some teams didn’t go, but here I think all the teams are, so I think it will be a tough tournament.

“We have to change the mindset, but not too much. I think we were tense today because if you lose you are out of the tournament, but when the game is on, you play and you get into your stride.”

Canadians into pool play

Jamie-Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas also made it through to the main draw with a win over Vasiliki Arvaniti and Panagiota Karagkouni. 

The Canadians had to fight hard to win the first set, but once they had they were able to beat the Greek duo in straight sets 2-0 (32-30, 21-13). 

“It is always a battle and anything can happen in these qualification rounds, so it is really nice to get the win,” Broder said. “There’s a lot on the line, so everyone is feeling the pressure and it is a very mental game when it comes down to it.”

The duo have been one of the most improved sides on the World Tour this year and their aim now is to use Berlin to match and improve on their results so far. 

“Kristina and I have had a pretty good year so far and we’ve qualified five times already, but we’d like to get a few more wins under our belt in the main draw,” Broder added. 

“Now we have to shift our focus on those matches and start preparing and hopefully get a few more ‘Ws’.”

The Berlin smart Grand Slam is the seventh Grand Slam on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, which is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. There are also eight Open events and while they are not part of the World Tour, they still count towards the FIVB World Rankings and help open the door for development of the sport. 

The tournament concludes with the women’s gold and bronze medal matches on Sunday August 11, while the men’s medal matches take place on Saturday August 10. 

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