Goller and Ludwig start with a convincing win in Rome
It was the third time in three tournaments that the Germans had played the Spanish and it was the same result again as Goller and Ludwig won 21-15, 21-16 at the Foro Italico complex.
“It was good because we always have battles against those two,” Goller said. “We played with them a lot in pre-season. They were in New Zealand with us, we played them last week and the week before so it was good to win for a third time.”
The 10th seeded German duo will now face Erika and Emilia Nystrom from Finland and the Netherlands’ Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer in Pool P.
The Dutch duo also got off to a winning start, with a 21-14, 21-12 victory against the Nystrom sisters.
“It is a tough pool, but to be honest there are no easy pools anymore,” Goller said. “It is a like a little European Championship.
“We haven’t played the Finns that often, maybe once last year and once the year before, but the Dutch girls were with us in New Zealand so we have trained with them before. I think there will be two more battles.”
Switzerland’s leading team, Nadine Zumkehr and Simone Kuhn also got off to winning start when they defeated compatriots Tanja Goricanec and Muriel Graessli.
The 12th seeds appeared comfortably in control after the first set, but Goricanec and Graessli rallied in the second and pushed them hard before they lost 21-13, 21-17.
“It was very good, but hot out there,” Zumkehr said. “It is always hard to play against your own country because you know each other very well. It was very important to win this game, so we are very happy.
“We won the first set pretty easily and that is always dangerous because if you lose the second the whole match starts in the third set and you never know what will happen, so it was very important that we did it in two.”
There were also victories for the top three seeds. Chen Xue and Zhang Xi followed up their tournament win in Moscow with victory against Laura Giombini and Viktoria Orsi Toth. Larissa and Juliana beat Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova, while Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes defeated Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre.
The smart Grand Slam, Rome is the sixth tournament on the women’s FIVB SWATCH World Tour, which features 12 events and culminates with the Bangsaen Thailand Open powered by PTT in October.
Rome is the last tournament in which world ranking points count towards qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games and the winning team will leave with a prize of $43,000. Both the women’s and men’s finals take place on Sunday, June 17.