Czechs show renewed belief to boss pool in Gstaad
The Czech duo wrapped up an unbeaten run in pool play with a hard-fought 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-13) win over Germany’s Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick that takes them straight into the second elimination round.
Kolocova and Slukova are enjoying their best season on the World Tour; first they claimed their first gold medals in front of their home fans at the Prague Open and then followed up by winning their first Grand Slam golds in Berlin.
“We were quite good on our side-out, but we didn’t defend well and our service wasn’t as good as usual,” Kolocova said. “We had to hold the side-out, though that isn’t what we like to base our game on, but we won.
“We were hunting a medal and were a team that hoped to win a medal, but we never did. We were always wondering whether we were improving or whether we were good enough and now we have proved ourselves that yes we can do it and it has made us a little bit stronger mentally.
“We know that all the teams are really good, but that we can compete with them and that is the step we have made this season.”
Following Berlin they opted to miss the Stavanger Grand Slam the following week to ensure they had two weeks rest and recuperation ahead of Gstaad.
The rest served them well on day two of the women’s main draw as they fought back from losing the first set and then hold off the Germans after they had built up a lead in the third, deciding set.
“Our coach decided that it was the right time to take two weeks off, to get physically back on track and to take a lot of time off and do some hard training,” Slukova said.
“Each season we miss one Grand Slam and I think we timed it well as we feel fresh and in this weather it is important to be 100 percent.”
No holding back new pair on Tour debut
One half of the reigning World Tour champions Taiana Lima marked the start of her new partnership with Fernanda Alves by wrapping three wins from three in pool play.
With her former partner Talita Antunes teaming up with Larissa Franca, Lima and Fernanda’s partnership hit the ground running as they ensured their place in the second elimination round with a 2-0 (23-21, 21-11) victory against Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo.
Prior to playing alongside Lima, Fernanda played in three World Tour events, with a quarterfinal finish at the 2013 Anapa Open, alongside Elize Maia her best result.
“It is a very good start and Fernanda is in her first season on the World Tour,” Lima said. “I chose her because she is so tall.
“She has a good attack and in the three matches here she has stayed calm, especially in the last match against the Spanish because they are playing well and reaching finals and semifinals at the moment.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, July 9 until Sunday July 13 when the men’s and women’s medal matches take place. It is the ninth event and the fifth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that 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 Transavia Hague Grand Slam which runs from July 15-20.