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Top seeded Germans knock out home team Van Gestel & Van der Vlist in Rotterdam

 
Germany's Ilka Semmler (left) and Katrin Holtwick upset home team Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist
 
Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 1, 2015 – Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler upset the home crowd in Rotterdam by eliminating Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist on Wednesday.

The 4th seeded Germans, the highest-ranking women’s team in Rotterdam, defeated the Dutch 2-0 (21-17, 23-21).

Van Gestel and Van der Vlist, ranked 47th, were no match in the first set, but with a little help from the crowd the Dutch gained control in the second. Van der Vlist was on fire and scored four points in a row to take the lead at 13-12.

Eventually the Dutch had four opportunities to enforce a tiebreak, but failed and at the first German match point Van Gestel hit the ball wide.

“We got a little bit nervous because it was close in the second set", Katrin Holtwick said. "But in the end of the second set we changed our tactics to serve on Sophie and that was something new for them and I think in the end that is why we won the match.”

Russia upsets Ludwig/Walkenhorst
In the second elimination round Holtwick and Semmler face Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Birlova. The 34th seeded Russians upset Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-16, 21-16).

The Russians finished 9th at the previous World Championships and have won two gold, one silver and a bronze on the World Tour since 2011, but last season Birlova took some time off to give birth to a baby girl and they have just recently been reunited.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst finished 5th in Poland two years ago, but recently Walkenhorst has been plagued with injury. The Germans finished second in the pool in Apeldoorn and did not play their level against the Russians.

Ludwig: "We had a good start, we served well. But they started serving better than us and used the wind to their advantage. And they hardly made any mistakes."

The Russians had a relaxed approach towards the match, Ukolova said. "We didn't put too much pressure on ourselves. We just focussed on making one point after another as best as we could. That was our strategy."

USA on top

USA’s Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat came back from behind against Poland (22-24, 21-8, 15-10) to claim a ticket for the second elimination round in Rotterdam. 



Pool winners Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska took the first set, but mainly scored through USA unforced errors. Fendrick and Sweat then brushed up their game in the second and sprinted towards the tiebreak, with Sweat closing the match at their third match point.

"We were a bit shaky in the first set, but we are proud of keeping the pressure on them in the second and third set", Fendrick said. "We really executed our defence strategy and served tough. We kept the pressure on them and we took care of our side-out."

Italy upsets Czech team

Fendrick and Sweat meet up with Marta Menegatti and Vicky Orsi Toth in the second elimination round. The pool winners knocked out 5th seeded Czech team Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova (21-19, 21-18).

The Italians came back from behind in the first set, to take the lead only at 19-18. After a long rally at 20-19 Orsi Toth closed the set with a spike through the middle of the court.



In the second set it was point-by-point until the Italians took a decisive three-point lead at 20-17, with the Czech team struggling with passing. Menegatti then served out, but scored the decisive point on the next match point.

“It was a slow start for us”, Menegatti. “It was a very tough match. We kept calm and patience. It wasn’t our best beach volleyball today, but the important thing is that we won.”



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