Soderberg and Lund Hoyer aiming for further success in Rome
A year ago they finished fifth in the FIVB SWATCH Beach Volleyball World Championships, their best result on the World Tour since they first paired up in 2006.
“We just love playing in Rome,” Soderberg said. “Last year was our best ever performance in Rome and here we are in Rome and we’ve made the main draw so we are really happy about that.
“Now we have to see who we get in the pool games. We like playing in Rome, so I think we can go far here.”
The Danish duo started the day with a win over Austria’s Thomas Kunert and Lorenz Petutschnig in the first qualifying round. They then secured their passage into the main draw by beating the USA’s Brad Keenan and John Mayer in straight sets, 21-14, 21-9.
“It was the first time we’ve played them so we worked on our game plan before the game, but didn’t really know what to expect from them before the game,” Hoyer added. “We are just happy to have beaten them and to be playing in the main draw.”
Joining them in the pool stages are Dutch pair Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst. They defeated their compatriots Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in a tense three-set tussle, but finished the winners, 21-19, 14-21, 15-13.
“We were a little nervous because we play with them constantly, so we knew it would be a tough,” Stiekema said. “There was only a one point win at the end, so that makes it even better.”
It is the fifth time that Stiekema and Varenhorst have made it through qualifying to the main draw in 2012.
They are part of an increasingly-strong Netherlands squad and will join fellow Dutch sides Daan Spijkers and Emiel Boersma and Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor in the men's main draw.
“It is huge,” Stiekema continued. “When you are in the main draw of a Grand Slam you are guaranteed three matches against better competitors, so it is great for us.”
The smart Grand Slam, Rome is the seventh tournament on the men’s FIVB SWATCH World Tour, which features 12 events and culminates with the Agadir Open in Morocco 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.