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Brazil’s Antonelli and Juliana face Czech team Kolocova/Slukova in Berlin final

Kristyna Kolocova (left) and Marketa Slukova play their second final in a month
Berlin, Germany, June 21, 2014 - Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta upset the home crowd at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Berlin smart Grand Slam by defeating Germany’s Karla Borger and Britta Büthe 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in the semifinal on Saturday.

The Brazilians will play Czech team Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova in the final on Sunday.

After a clear win in the first set of the semifinal, it was point-by-point in the second set. The Germans created a two-point gap from 8-8, but Antonelli and Juliana took over from 16-16. Vice-world champions Borger and Büthe made some mistakes in reception and attack and at 20-17 Antonelli served a winner to claim a spot in the Berlin final.

“It was incredible”, said Antonelli, who had some strong finishes and really grew in the tournament. “I am very happy that me and Juliana could serve strong in this wind and that we stayed together all the time. It was fantastic to play for this audience and I hope they will cheer for us tomorrow.”

Antonelli and Juliana teamed up this year and won silver at the Fuzhou Open and Puerto Vallarta Open already. “I am so happy for our new team and new coaches”, said Antonelli, who has never won a medal before in Germany. Juliana collected one gold, two silvers and one bronze over the years in Berlin with her old partner Larissa Franca.

Kolocova/Slukova reach second final in a month

Kolocova and Slukova reached their second final in just over a month, after winning the Prague Open in May. The Czech team defeated China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue 2-0 (21-15 21-17) in the semifinal.

Slukova served strong throughout the game, creating a gap in the first set from 16-13 to 20-13 on her service turn. The Czechs closed the set on their third set point.

In the second part the Chinese hung on till 15-15, but again Slukova made the difference with her serve. At the first Czech match point China hit the ball in the net and left Kolocova and Slukova to celebrate.

“We won!”, said Slukova. “It’s perfect, I can’t believe it. Now the final. We are the outsiders, so that works for us perfectly.”

Two finals in one month is a perfect reward for all the hard work, said Kolocova. “We asked our coach in the preparation for this season if we improved a little, because this is our tenth season and it’s hard work all the time.”

“To make a step forward is always very difficult”, she continued. “Last year we were fifth, ninth and once we made the semifinals, but now we proved that we did take that step.”

Asked about what caused their recent success, Kolocova said: “Our serving has gotten better and I improved my setting, that was a bit of a problem last year. And it’s our spirit, we fight together. We’re cheering more for each other, shouting more than we were used too.”

They needed to get rid of the Czech mentality, Kolocova explained. “We wanted a more American mood. More self-confident, for Czechs that is not easy. When we get pissed, it’s over and we play half of what we can. And with our height we have to play at least a hundred percent.”

FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam Tournament Page

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