World champs back on form as Gstaad Grand Slam heats up
The Dutch pair shocked the beach volleyball world when they came from nowhere to win the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, but since the start of the year they have struggled with fitness and form on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
However, they started with two wins to put themselves top of their pool and are on course to go straight into the second elimination round.
The women meanwhile completed pool play and can now look ahead to the start of the elimination rounds on Friday.
Czechs show renewed belief to boss pool in Gstaad
Having ended their wait for a World Tour gold medal in emphatic fashion this season, Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova demonstrated that they are a team flush with confidence at the Gstaad Grand Slam.
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 hunting a medal and were a team that hoped to win a medal, but we never did,” Kolocova said. “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.”
Spanish pair out to match compatriots achievements in Gstaad
For Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira it has been a frustrating time since their most recent World Tour medals, bronze at the Berlin Grand Slam in 2013, but having begun the Gstaad Grand Slam with two wins, the hope is that run will end in the Swiss Alps.
After winning bronze in Berlin they then finished fourth at the Sao Paolo Grand Slam later that year. So far in 2014 they have reached Grand Slam quarterfinals three times and finished fourth at the CEV European Championships.
In the meantime their female compatriots Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo have firmly established themselves as a team that knows their way to the latter stages of a tournament.
“This season we have been consistent and we regularly finish fifth or ninth. We just need another win to reach the semifinals and we will try to get to a semifinal this month.
“They are playing really well and I hope they win a Grand Slam gold medal. We are both Spanish teams in the top 10 and that is something we are very proud of.”