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Bieneck and Grossner claim maiden crown at Anapa Open

Grossner (left) and Bieneck had plenty to celebrate after winning their first World Tour gold medals
Anapa, Russia, May 31, 2014 – Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner won their first ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medals on Saturday when they beat Ekaterina Syrtseva and Alexandra Shiryaeva in the gold medal match.

The German duo beat the Russian pair 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) in 36 minutes in a match that swung to and fro in both sets before Bieneck and Grossner took a grip as the sets reached their conclusions. 

“It is the first time we were in the semifinal and now it is the first time that we have won a gold medal and we are so happy, though we didn’t believe it before the tournament,” Bieneck said. 

“I didn’t expect it to be two sets,” Grossner added. “They are a very good team and very tough and in every set we were behind for a while and came back, but we always believed we could win this game.”

Prior to the tournament the pair’s best finish was a quarterfinal place at the 2013 Corrientes Grand Slam, though Bieneck won FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships at U19 level in 2009 and U23 level in 2013. 

The pair’s win shows the current depth of German women’s beach volleyball; Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst won their first Grand Slam gold in Shanghai this year, Karla Borger and Britta Buthe reached the final of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick are regulars on the World Tour podium. 

“We have a really, really big competition in Germany and there are many good teams that want to play on the World Tour, so everyone wants to show their best and I think this week we were the best team.”

Syrtseva and Shiryaeva may have been disappointed with their loss, but the result confirms the progress they have made in recent months.

They reached the Durban Open quarterfinals at the end of 2013 and finished ninth at the Prague Open early in 2014.

“Our opponents had a very good start, but they weren’t serving well, but when they started to serve well they improved,” Syrtseva said. 

“Even so this is our best World Tour result, so we can be very happy about that. It was also good to play in front of our own fans and now we have to prepare for the Moscow Grand Slam and try and match this result.”

Double the Russian fun as Ukolova and Prokopeva claim bronze

Ukolova ensured that she didn’t leave empty-handed when she and Maria Prokopeva defeated Spain’s Angela Lobato Herrero and Paula Soria Gutierrez 2-0 (23-21, 21-19) in the bronze medal match.

The Spaniards were in control early on in the first set, but after they failed to convert two set points the Russians took the initiative and held onto it for the rest of the match.

“We were a bit disappointed that we lost in the semifinal, but our coach said winning a medal was a good result,” Ukolova said. “We didn’t concentrate well enough at the start, but once we did we were able to play our normal style and take control of the game.”

The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia runs from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender receive 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It is the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.


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