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Kolocova and Slukova claim their first World Tour gold in home town Prague

The 2014 women's FIVB World Tour Prague Open podium
Prague, Czech Republic, May 25, 2014 – Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova won the inaugural women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Prague Open on Sunday. It was double joy for the Czech team, it was their first World Tour medal and they also won it in their hometown Prague in front of friends and family.

Kolocova and Slukova defeated Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler 2-1 (21-18, 16-21, 15-12) in the final in the sunny and packed Stvanice stadium. So far their best result in 48 World Tour events was 4th place at the Berlin Grand Slam last year.

“I still can’t believe it”, 26-year old Kolocova said right after the match. “It’s crazy, incredible, I don’t know what to say. It’s home and it’s gold, so this must be the best result in our career.”

Flying start

The Czech girls had a flying start against the German veterans. They targeted Holtwick with their serve and that seemed to be a good strategy in the first set (21-18).

In the second part the Germans were mostly leading. Every time Kolocova and Slukova came within one point reach they were not able to finish the opportunities they created.

Kolocova: “I made some mistakes in side-out and they jumped away from us. From there it was easy for them to finish.” Holtwick and Semmler took the set 16-21 and the match went into a tiebreak.

It was the Germans again who took the first lead in the third set, but the Prague girls levelled at 7-7. Then it was back and forth until 10-10 when Slukova’s strong serves and kill blocks gave them a three-point gap.

Germany came back to 13-12, but Holtwick served in the net. On their first match point Kolocova hit a winning spike to the back of the court and the stadium exploded.

Fairy tale

“This is like a fairy tale”, the defence player said, “Simon (Simon Nausch, their coach) was telling us before the final it was fairytale already, this is top top fairytale. I am happy.”

Slukova: “The nerves got to us a little in the tiebreak, but we knew we had nothing to lose. Fortunately we could finish at the right moments.”

Both players were thrilled about the support from the audience. “They never stopped believing in us. It’s unbelievable, they kept pushing us”, Kolocova said.

Tough, but fun game

Holtwick and Semmler booked their fourth silver medal, to add to the one gold and five bronzes they collected in twelve seasons. “It was a tough game, but also a fun game”, Holtwick said.

“We did not play as good as the matches before. In the end they deserved it, they played a really strong final. There was a big chance for gold, that hurts a little. But silver is also ok, it’s a better colour anyway.”

Ludwig and Walkenhorst take the bronze

In the bronze medal match Germany’s Ludwig and Walkenhorst defeated the Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger in three sets (21-18, 17-21, 15-5).

They added a second bronze medal to their collection, which also includes one gold (this year in Shanghai) and two silvers in just two seasons they have been playing together.

The 23-year old Walkenhorst had some trouble with her health in the morning when they lost the semi against Holtwick and Semmler. “I was confused, I had a nosebleed right before the game and I was not sure if I could play or not.”

But she felt better in the afternoon. The Germans took the first set, led most of the time in the second, but let the Schwaiger-sisters come back at the end of the second set.

Huge gap in tiebreak

In the tiebreak Ludwig created a huge gap with strong serving from 4-4 to 12-4. The Austrians managed to score only one more point before Stefanie Schwaiger hit the ball out: 15-5.

“We played a lot better than this morning”, Walkenhorst said. “We could make a lot of pressure with our service so they could not make a normal side-out and I think we really fought for it.”

“We said we would try everything and give our all in this game and I am feeling better now. I am happy we won the bronze medal”, she concluded.


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