Kolocova and Slukova crowned as Berlin smart Grand Slam champions
Kolocova and Slukova had never won a World Tour medal before until they claimed first place in their home town Prague a few weeks ago. It was the first women’s World Tour gold for the Czech Republic ever.
“We still think we are dreaming, we can’t believe it”, said Slukova. “The one in Prague, it was different, it was at home and it was an Open, someone could say not all the top teams were there. But now we are standing here as Grand Slam winners. It feels amazing, I can’t believe it. I am just so proud of us that we made it.”
After a clear win for the Czechs in the first set, the Brazilians came to win the second. In the tiebreak strong serving Slukova started out with some winner serves to get them a 5-1-lead.
The Czechs held on to that lead while both team entertained the crowd on Washingtonplatz with some great rallies, and had their first match point at a comfortable 14-10. It took them two more to claim the crown, when Brazil served out at 14-12.
“Again it was the service, especially Marketa’s today”, said Kolocova about the key to their victory. “The Brazilians did not receive that well and they had side-out problems. They could not find a way to defend me.”
Kolocova started the match on painkillers because of a spasm in her back, but had some incredible digs anyway. “I could not produce a hundred percent, but still somehow I made it. I think that pissed them off. I think they maybe thought it would be an easy win for them against a team like us in the final.”
Antonelli and Juliana finished second for the third time this year, after winning silver at the Fuzhou Open and Puerto Vallarta Open this year. Juliana won the Berlin event in 2012, finished 2nd in 2007 and in 2005 (World Championships) and third in 2008 with her former teammate Larissa Franca.
“Very hard, silver”, said Juliana. “But I’ll wait to win a gold medal again and in the meantime I have to work harder. We played 75 percent and you need a 100 percent or even 200 percent at this level.”
Berlin bronze for home team Borger/Büthe
Borger/Büthe Karla Borger and Britta Büthe set aside their disappointment about the lost semifinal and claimed the bronze medal. With the huge support of the centre court crowd the German team defeated Shanghai’s silver medallists Fan Wang and Yuan 2-0 (21-10, 21-19).
It was only their second FIVB medal after they won silver at the World Championships in Stare Jablonki last year. They missed out on the podium at the Prague Open this year, finishing fourth.
“The Chinese gave up relatively early in the first set, but it got close in the second”, said Büthe. Fan Wang and Yue came back to 19-19 in the second part, but the Germans stayed calm and finished the match on their first match point.
“It was a great match”, said Borger. “We had a lot of fun. In the end there were a lot of people watching and that gave us wings. Against the Chinese we have a lot of close games before, and that motivated us to win. Podium is podium and we are very happy with our bronze in Berlin.”
Büthe: “It makes us really proud to go home with a bronze medal, that we won in our favourite city, and that our family, friends and fans came out to the centre court all week to support us.”