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Berlin residents Bieneck/Grossner claim main draw spot at Berlin Grand Slam

Germany's Victoria Bieneck (left) and Julia Grossner claimed a main draw spot in their home town
Berlin, Germany, June 17, 2014 - Supported by a large group of friends and family Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner claimed a spot in main draw on Tuesday at the FIVB World Tour Berlin smart Grand Slam.

The Berlin residents defeated Russia’s Olga Motrich and Yulia Abalakina 2-1 (19-21, 21-12, 15-12) in the final round of the qualification tournament.

The Russians took the first set with clever play and excellent defence by Abalakina, but Grossner knew that they would be able to come back.

“It was tough, we made some unforced errors in the first set, but in break situations we had a really good feeling, also in the first set”, she said. “We knew that we could came back if we did not make so many mistakes.”

After an easy win for Germany in the second set, it was point-by-point in the tiebreak. Bieneck was targeted all the time by the Russians, but she was able to score quite a lot with shots over Motrich’s block, down the line. After a time-out at 13-12, Germany took the tiebreak to matchpoint and right after Motrich hit the ball out.

“We started a bit nervous, it took some time to get into the match”, said Bieneck. “It is really great that our friends and family are here. They believe in us all the time and it’s nice that they can support us directly at the court this time.”

Grossner: “We want to play really good for them, because when we are all over the world they are always thinking of us. Our next goal is to get out of the group and hopefully a top 10 finish.”

Russia set on collecting Grand Slam points

Also advancing to main draw were fourth seeded Evgenia Ukolova and Maria Prokopeva. The Russians had a bye in the first round and an easy 2-0 (21-13 21-17) win in their second round match against Czech team Eliska Galova and Hana Tresnakova.

It was stressfull, playing in qualification, said Prokopeva. “It’s always more stress, because if you win you play tomorrow, if you lose you’re out. That is always difficult, but we are happy that we won.”

Ukolova and Prokopeva won the bronze medal at the Anapa Open just a few weeks ago and finished 9th in Moscow, but don’t have enough points to enter main draw directly.

“Before we had enough points because Ukolova had played with another partner (Khomyakova) and they won a Grand Slam and had good finishes and we could use those points”, said Prokopeva. “But lately we have been playing mainly Open events and we have a different situation. So this week we will have another chance to get some points, because we want to get back in main draw.”

Brazil comes back from behind

First seeded Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta da Silva lost the first set in their qualification match against Czechs Martina Bonnerova and Barbora Hemannova. The Brazilians enforced a tiebreak and eventually won 2-1 (16-21 21-18 15-7).

The other teams that advanced to main draw are USA’s Pavlik/Fopma, Poland’s Brzostek/Kolosinska, Italy’s Gioria/Giombini, Russia’s Syrtseva/Moiseeva and Braakman/Van der Vlist from the Netherlands.

The women’s main draw starts at 9.00 on Wednesday, while the men begin with qualification. A total of 32 women’s teams will play round robin in 8 pools of 4. Pool winners advance to the second knockout round, while the numbers 2 and 3 start in the first elimination round.

Among these 32 teams are Moscow champions April Ross and Kerri Walsh, world champion Chen Xue from China and her partner Xinyi Xia and last year’s winners Talita Antues and Taiana Lima. Local favourites are vice-world champions Karla Borger and Britta Büthe and last year’s silver medallists Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler.

Berlin is hosting a women’s World Tour event for the eighth time, and after two years in the Olympic Park the smart Grand Slam is back in the city centre. Matches are played at two venues: Washingtonplatz next to the central station and beach volleyball club Beach Mitte.


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