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Slukova and Kolocova happy to be party poopers at Berlin smart Grand Slam

Marketa Slukova (left) and Kristyna Kolocova are enjoying their best performance of 2013 in Berlin
Berlin, Germany, August 10, 2013 – Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova silenced the centre court crowd at the Berlin smart Grand Slam when they knocked out local favourites Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst on Saturday. 

The Czech Republic duo beat the Germans 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) to reach their first ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam semifinal, where they will face World Tour leaders Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima of Brazil. 

“The match was terrible, really weird and there were a lot of aces and unforced errors from both sides,” Slukova said. 

“I’m really happy that we coped with it a little better and especially with the strong wind at the end of the second set. It was a close thing that we nearly lost that set, but we maintained our concentration and reached our first semifinal, so we are really happy and really excited.”

Berlin’s centre court was hoping to see the Berlin-born Ludwig and Walkenhorst progress to a second semifinal in two weeks. A week ago at the CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships in Klagenfurt, Austria, they won the bronze medals, their first success as a team. 

It meant that Slukova and Kolocova had to work hard to block out the German support and concentrate on their own performance. 

“We are always trying to get the fans on our side, but here no-one really cheered for us,” Kolocova said. “We had a few Czech people here for us, but when I was celebrating my point, everyone was looking upset.”

Holtwick and Semmler keep German hopes alive

By the end of the day Germany’s number one team Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler were the only home team from four to make it through the quarterfinals.

They beat Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova, but needed to hold their nerve in a first set that ran and ran. Eventually they won 2-1 (29-27, 15-21, 15-9) to set up a last-four clash against surprise USA duo Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat.

A year Holtwick and Semmler were the best performing German side after they finished fourth, but the aim now is to go at least one better and win their fourth FIVB medal of year. 

“The pressure in attack and a good sideout were the reasons for our success in the long first set and in the tie-break,” Semmler said. “The Russians had some very good serves and got a lot of balls right in the line. But the Berlin audience gave us great support. A medal is now surely our goal.”

The Berlin smart Grand Slam is the seventh Grand Slam on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, which is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. There are also eight Open events and while they are not part of the World Tour, they still count towards the FIVB World Rankings and help open the door for development of the sport. 

The tournament concludes with the women’s gold and bronze medal matches on Sunday August 11, while the men’s medal matches took place on Saturday August 10. 

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