Czech Republic's Slukova & Hermannova deny German Glory

Klagenfurt, Austria, July 29, 2016 - Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova denied Germany a possible FIVB World Tour women’s podium sweep here Friday morning as the Czech Republic pair eliminated Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude in an opening “Sweet 16” match at the UIS$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt.

Competing as the 11th-seeded team in the fourth of five SWATCH Major Series events on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar, Hermannova and Slukova posted a 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) win in 39 minutes over the fourth-seeded Laboureur and Sude in the first international meeting between the two teams.

With four teams in the A1 Major Klagenfurt Round of 16, Germany was in position for a podium sweep as three of the four pairs from the European country were seeded among the top for tandems in the last FIVB World Tour stop prior to the start of next week’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Exiting the “Sweet 16” round, Switzerland is now in position to sweep the A1 Major Klagenfurt podium with three teams advancing to quarter-finals with fifth-seeded Joana Heidrich / Nadine Zumkehr, 10th-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre and 18th-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli winning matches Friday morning.

Top-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst advanced to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win in 31 minutes over Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner in an All-German “Sweet 16” match.  It was Ludwig and Walkenhorst’s second win over Bieneck and Grossner on the international circuit with the first last month in Olsztyn, Poland.

Second-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe netted a second spot for Germany in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) win in 30 minutes over 21st-seeded Vasiliki Arvaniti and Penny Karagkouni of Greece.  Borger and Buthe have now defeated the Greeks four-straight times on the FIVB World Tour, including a pool play win two weeks ago in the Gstaad Major in Switzerland.

With Hermannova/Slukova and Ludwig/Walkenhorst competing in the lower half of the A1 Major Klagenfurt bracket, the two teams will play pairs from Switzerland in the quarter-finals.  Czech women will play Betschart/Huberli in the quarter-finals in the first FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who have won four international gold medals this season, will be challenged by Forrer/Verge-Depre in the “Elite 8” in the fourth meeting between the two teams that are bound for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games along with Hermannova/Slukova and Borger/Buthe.  The Germans lead the series 3-0 after winning a pool play match over Forrer and Verge-Depre at mid-March’s Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana.

Betschart and Huberli advanced to the quarter-finals for their third time in the last four FIVB tournaments by ousting 26th-seeded (18) def. Fernanda and/Josemari Alves (no relation) of Brazil 2-0 (21-10, 21-17) in 32 minutes while Forrer and Verge-Depre eliminated sixth-seeded Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-13) in a 48-minute match featuring two Olympic-bound teams.

In the top-half of the women’s bracket where all four teams will be playing next weekend on Copacabana, Borger and Buthe will meet 13th-seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina while Heidrich and Zumkehr will played seventh-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain.  Gallay and Klug have won two of three matches from Borger and Buthe on the FIVB World Tour with the Spanish winning four of six FIVB matches from Heidrich and Zumkehr.

To advance to the quarter-finals, Gallay and Klug ousted ninth-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Taiana Lima of Brazil 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-10) in 52 minutes while Heidrich and Zumkehr scored a 2-0 (21-16, 21-10) win in 31 minutes over 19th-seeded Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia and Elsa and Liliana ousted third-seeded Kinga Kolosinska/Monika Brzostek of Poland 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-13) in 51 minutes.

The Gallay/Klug victory avenged a setback last month to Juliana/Lima at the smart Major Hamburg last month.  Heidrich and Zumkehr are now 2-0 with Birlova/Ukolova on the FIVB World Tour while Elsa and Liliana have now won six of eight world tour matches with the Poles.

The women’s “final four” matches will be played Saturday with morning semi-finals and afternoon medal matches.  The winning team will shared the $57,000 first-place prize.


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