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Brazil’s Antonelli and Agatha advance to the elimination phase with three straight wins

Brazil's Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk reached the elimination rounds with three straight wins
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 3, 2013 - Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk advanced to the elimination rounds of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013 with their third straight win. 

In their final pool match on Wednesday the Brazilians beat Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-17 21-11) in a clash that decided who topped the pool.

Antonelli and Bednarczuk quickly found their rhythm and put pressure on Germany right from the start. 

“The game was easy to play because we built our rhythm during the match and in the second set we played our best and wanted to win as quickly as possible,” Antonelli said. “We knew the German team has an aggressive style so we had to play aggressively as well and when that happens it is easy for us, not matter who we are playing.” 

“We prepared well yesterday," Bednarczuk added. “We were watching some videos of their technique and what to expect from them.” 

Antonelli played two World Championships before with Talita Antunes and won bronze in Stavanger in 2009 and finished fifth in Rome in 2011. Bednarczuk finished 17th in Berlin in 2005 with beach volleyball legend Sandra Pires. 

The pair only teamed up this season, but already have claimed Grand Slam silver in Corrientes.

“Our co-operation is very good,” Antonelli said. “We are very experienced and understand each other. We are targeting a win in these World Championships and hope to meet another Brazilian team in the final.”

Germany’s Borger and Buthe too strong for Italy

In another battle to top the pool on centre court Germany’s Britta Borger and Karla Buthe defeated Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti 2-1 (21-16 17-21 15-13). Germany played a very clean game in the first set, but Italy came back strong in the second.

Borger started the tiebreak with another ace, which she can add to the 11 she hit in the first two days of the World Champs. Both teams made a lot of mistakes and had reception problems, but it was Germany who took a lead at 14-13 and Borger finished the game with their first match point.

“We are really happy to be first in our group,” Borger said. “Now we are really emotional and really happy, but actually first means nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’re first or second because tomorrow the tournament really begins.”

“But it was good to get some confidence for the next game,” Buthe added. “We know that even if we lose a set and are down, we can finish it at the end.”

After finishing fourth at the Rome Grand Slam a week ago, the German team has come to appreciate playing on centre court. 

“It’s so much different than playing at the courts where there are not so much people," Borger said. "That’s a thing we learned in Rome. That it’s so much more fun to play when there are people watching and it gives us so much more energy.”

Another win for the Finnish Nystrom twins

After their major win over first seeded Chen Xue and Zhang Xi on Tuesday, Emilia and Erika Nystom continued their campaign with another 2-0 (23-21 21-11) win, over Polish team Daria Paszek and Katarzyna Kociolek.

“The game was good and we had a little pressure on us and that is why the first set was very tight. In the second set we controlled ourselves and that is why the second set was better for us,” Emilia Nystrom said.

“It is our first time against this Polish team and we knew it would be really hard because Polish beach volleyball growing.”

In their previous four World Championship editions the Finnish twins only advanced to the knockout rounds in Rome two years ago and finished 17th, but they now have bigger hopes for Stare Jablonki.

“Our target is to qualify for the round of 16. We will be extremely happy if we do that, but this target is realistic because we have beaten the top teams at least once.”

The women’s competition continues on Thursday with the first elimination round in which 32 teams, the first and second ranked in each pool and the top eight third ranked teams take part. The semifinals and medal matches are scheduled for Saturday. The men’s competition is one day behind and concludes on Sunday.

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