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Gstaad Gossip - German Girls Guaranteed Gold

German glee for Katrin Holtwick (left) with partner Ilka Semmler

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 12, 2014 - As a prelude to the next edition of the "Talkin' Stats" weekly update, here are facts and figures from this week's women's competition at the US$800,000 Gstaad Grand Slam where the quarter- and semi-final matches were played here Saturday to set the schedule for Sunday's medal matches.

• FIRST TIME - With German pairs winning both semi-final matches Saturday, Sunday’s final will mark the first-time since the start of the women’s FIVB World Tour in 1992 that two teams from the European country will compete for a gold medal.  Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler won the only FIVB World Tour match between the two teams with a 2-1 (21-11, 21-23 and 15-12) win over Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in 43 minutes at a 2011 event in Stare Jablonki, Poland (July 27).
• NO. 9 - The 15th annual Gstaad Grand Slam is the ninth event on the 2014 FIVB World Tour where the Swiss Alps village is hosting the season's fifth Grand Slam event.  In addition to the $57,000 first-place purse, the winning women's team will earn 800 points while the silver medal pair will share $43,000 and 720 points.  The bronze medal match winner will split $32,000 and 640 points while the fourth-place finishers will share $24,000 and 560 points.

2014 FIVB World Tour Women’s Dates, Site, Type, Gold Medal Team
1. April 23-27, Fuzhou, China, Open, April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, United States
2. April 30-May 4, Shanghai, China, Grand Slam, Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany
3. May 7-11, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Open, Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil
4. May 21-25, Prague, Czech Republic, Open, Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic
5. May 28-June 1, Anapa, Russia, Open, Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner, Germany
6. June 11-15, Moscow, Russia, Grand Slam, A. Ross/Walsh Jennings, United States
7. June 18-22, Berlin, Germany, Grand Slam, Kolocova/Slukova, Czech Republic
8. June 25-29, Stavanger, Norway, Grand Slam, A. Ross/Walsh Jennings, United States
9. July  8-13, Gstaad, Switzerland, Grand Slam, Germany (Karla Borger/Britta Buthe or Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler)

• BY COUNTRY - The three countries in the Gstaad Grand Slam “final four” have won gold medals this season on the FIVB World Tour - Czech Republic (Prague and Berlin), Germany (Shanghai and Anapa) and Brazil (Puerto Vallarta).  The other three gold medals were claimed by April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings (Fuzhou, Moscow and Stavanger).  The Americans placed ninth in Gstaad this week.
• GSTAAD MEDALS - Since the start of the FIVB World Tour event in the Swiss Alps in 2000, Germany guaranteed its first gold medal in Gstaad after posting its previous best finish in 2010 with a silver medal finish by Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig.  Brazilian women teams have now combined for 25 “final fours” appearances.  The South Americans have amassed 18 podium placements entering Sunday’s play with seven gold medal finishes (2000, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011) along with six silvers and five bronze medals.

GOLD MEDAL MATCH - Germany vs. Germany

• BB SHOTS - After placing 25th two weeks ago at the Stavanger Grand Slam where they won only one of three matches, eighth-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe of Germany rebounded to advance to their second FIVB World Tour "final four" this season by posting wins Saturday over pairs from Brazil and the Czech Republic.  The Germans have won six-straight matches this week with other victories over pairs from Poland, Germany, Switzerland (twice) and Brazil.  The German's best previous placements in Gstaad were ninths.  Borger and Buthe, who captured the bronze medal at the Berlin Grand Slam last month, are now 24-7 in matches this season.  The BBs started the season by posting three-straight FIVB fifth-place finishes in Shanghai, Prague and Moscow before reaching the podium in Berlin.  Borger and Buthe finished fifth at the European Championships last month in Cagliari.
• KAT-LER REPORT - Fourteenth-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany became the second team from the European country to advance to the 2014 Gstaad Grand Slam finale after posting wins over pairs from China and Brazil.  With a spot in the gold medal match, Holtwick and Semmler have now posted their best-ever finish in Gstaad with their previous bests being sevenths.  Holtwick and Semmler, who have a 15-13 match mark this season, will be playing in their second FIVB World Tour "final four" this season after placing second to Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova in May's Prague Open.  The Germans have now reached a FIVB World Tour "final four" for the 14th time as the pair has now claimed 11 podium placements medals with a 2012 gold medal finish in Åland, Finland.  Holtwick and Semmler finished ninth at the European Championships last month in Cagliari.

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH - Czech Republic vs. Brazil

• CZECH FIRST - With a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19 and 15-9) win over 23rd-seeded Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada in 54 minutes, third-seeded Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova became the first-ever Czech Republic men's or women's team to advance to the "final four" matches in Gstaad.  Despite having their 11-match winning streak snapped by Karla Borger and Britta Buthe of Germany in the Gstaad semi-finals, Kolocova and Slukova improved their season match mark to 23-6.  The Czech's best previous finishes in Gstaad were ninths.  With the Gstaad Grand Slam being Kolocova and Slukova's fifth event this season, Czech Republic women have won two events (Prague and Berlin) and placed ninth twice (Shanghai and Moscow).  The two gold medal finishes were the first-ever FIVB World Tour event titles by either a men’s or women’s team from the Czech Republic.  Kolocova and Slukova placed fifth last month at the European Championships in Cagliari, Italy.
• QUALIFYING AGAIN - For the fourth-time this season in eight FIVB World Tour starts together, sixth-seeded Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli advanced to "final four" after defeating ninth-seeded Nadine Zumkehr and Joana Heidrich of Switzerland 2-1 (11-21, 21-16 and 15-8) in 48 minutes.  The win over the Swiss marked Juliana and Antonelli's fourth-straight three-set match in the 2014 Gstaad Grand Slam.  Unlike this week's other "final four" participating teams, Juliana and Antonelli had to qualify for the "money" rounds by defeating a team from Japan Tuesday in three sets.  The Brazilians have a 43-12 match mark this season with three silver medal finishes in China (Fuzhou), Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) and Germany (Berlin).  Juliana is playing in her ninth event in Gstaad where she has compiled six medals, including podium-topping efforts in 2005, 2010 and 2011 with Larissa Franca.  Antonelli and Talita Rocha won the 2009 Gstaad event where they defeated Juliana and Larissa for the gold medal.  For their FIVB World Tour careers, Juliana has won 45 gold medals and Antonelli has posted nine firsts.  Juliana was a bronze medalist in Beach Volleyball with Larissa at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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