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Do or die for Germany’s Bieneck and Grossner

Germany's Victoria Bieneck (left) and Julia Grossner are one of eight qualification teams that made it to the main draw
Moscow, Russia, August 21, 2013 – It was ‘do or die’ for Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner on Wednesday on the first day of the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam. The German team finished 9th in Berlin just two weeks ago, but had to start in qualification at the sixth edition of the Russian Grand Slam.

Under 23 champion Bieneck and her partner Grossner had a bye in the first qualification round as second seeded, but needed three sets (21-13 17-21 15-12) to overcome USA’s Heather Hughes and Lane Carico in the final round.

If you lose you have nothing

“We were a bit nervous”, Grossner said. Bieneck explained: “It’s a qualification match. It’s not like a normal match. It’s do or die. If you win you are in the main draw, if you lose you have nothing. Not really many points, nothing.”

“Therefore qualification is always really tough. Even though we had some really good results in the main draw this year. We are always a bit nervous in qualification, because there is always pressure.”

Hughes and Carico both have a good track record in Russia. Hughes finished 4th at the Anapa Open a few weeks ago with Kaitlin Sather Nielsen and Carico participated in the Universiade Games in Kazan and finished second in the Russian Club Championships with Evgenia Ukolova, also in Anapa, this year.

The American team put up a great fight in the second set. Grossner: “In the first set we were very good, very good in side-out. In the second set we knew they would play better than in the first set and we were nervous towards the end of the set and we made some mistakes. They took their chances and it turned out to be a close match.”

About their expectations Bieneck said: “We will see what kind of pool we get. We look for getting out of the pool and a good draw after that, and some more matches. Of course Berlin was really good and we gained some confidence there and we are happy to be in the main draw and are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Title favourites

Asked about title favourites in Moscow Bieneck named Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima from Brazil, who will be eyeing their third consecutive and overall sixth World Tour title this year.

“But the Germans are also good”, Grossner said. “After the second place at the World Championships the German team (Karla Borger and Britta Büthe) is back again. Büthe was injured but they will play here in Moscow.”

First seeded Agatha and Antonelli also advance

Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli, silver medallists at the Corrientes Grand Slam earlier this year, started their Moscow adventure in the qualification tournament, just like in Berlin.

Though challenged in the first set by the young French team Melinda Adelin and Laura Longuet the first seeded Brazilians won 2-0 (25-23 21-15).

Young Russians upset Wesselink and Bloem

The only upset in the women’s competition was the early departure of fourth seeded Dutch team Marloes Wesselink and Laura Bloem. They were defeated 2-1 (25-23 19-21 15-12) by Russian 16-year olds Daria Rudykh and Nadezda Makroguzova.

FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Tournament Page

FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Men’s Qualification

FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Women’s Qualification

FIVB Moscow Grand Slam Twitter Account

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