Kinga’s kinks working out

Olsztyn, Poland, June 15, 2016 - Less than 24 hours before playing her first scheduled match in the US$800,000 Olsztyn Grand Slam, Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska was uncertain about her playing status in this week’s FIVB World Tour event after missing her last two Beach Volleyball tournaments with a back program.

“We wanted to practice first before knowing her status,” said partner Monika Brzostek after she and Kolosinska won their second match here Wednesday with a 2-1 (12-21, 21-16, 15-8) win in 41 minutes over 17th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke of Canada.

“After we practiced at noon Tuesday, we waited two hours to see how Kinga’s back was doing,” said the 26-year old Brzostek about her partner.  “She was experiencing no problems, so we decided to play.  We are taking it one match at a time.”

Kolosinska’s back problems started after finishing fifth two weeks ago with Brzostek at the Moscow Grand Slam.  Arriving in Switzerland two days later for the European Championships at Biel/Bienne, Kolosinska back was hurting with a budging disc that forced her to forfeit three matches in the continental championships along with withdrawing from last week’s smart Major Hamburg.

“It feels fine now,” said the 26-year old Kolosinska.  “Right now, I struggle bending for receptions.  As for our next match, I don’t know.  We played twice today with the second one against the Canadians very tough.  I will see how I feel in the morning to see about playing against the Germans.”

The top-seeded Brzostek and Kolosinska, who opened play Wednesday with a 2-0 (2-17, 21-15) win in 29 minutes over 32nd-seeded Alise Lece and Marta Ozolina of Latvia, are tied atop Pool A with a 2-0 match mark with 16th-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany.

The Germans opened play Wednesday with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-14, 15-12) win in 41 minutes over Humana-Paredes and Pischke before posting a 2-0 (21-8, 21-12) win in 27 minutes over Lece and Ozolina.  Laboureur and Sude have met the Poles once on the FIVB World Tour with a 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-9) pool play win in 42 minutes at the Vitoria Open in Brazil March 16.

While Brzostek and Kolosinska have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Laboureur and Sude finished as the fourth German pair on the Copacabana quadrennial list behind compatriots Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler.  But with only two teams per country allowed in the Rio competition, Laboureur and Sude will be watching despite having compiled more Rio ranking points that two teams that made the field.

Wednesday’s pool play schedule was different for the FIVB World Tour players compared to other international events as the format featured only half of the women’s second-round of pool play matches.  Brzostek and Kolosinska’s group along with Pool C, E and G featured two matches each for the teams while Pool B, D, F and H competitors will play two matches Thursday after one contest Wednesday.

Newly-crowned smart Major Hamburg champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany opened with a pair of victories with a little “hangover” in their first set of the day in the Olsztyn Grand Slam.  The third-seeded Ludwig and Walkenhorst dropped their opening set Wednesday to compatriots Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner before rallying to win 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-8) in a 38-minute Pool C match.

“I guess you can call it a hangover,” said Ludwig, “but Victoria and Julia are very competitive and wanted to defeat us as much as anyone.  Obviously, the last five days has been filled with celebration and a lot of congratulations.  But, we need to regain our focus as Hamburg win is now in the past and the Olympics are in our sights”

Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who ended play Wednesday with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win in 29 minutes over 30th-seeded Jagoda Gruszczynska and Dorota Strag of Poland, conclude group action Thursday against 14th-seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina.

The Argentineans, who are headed to Copacabana after securing their berth for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Hamburg, split their two matches Wednesday with a win over the Polish and a setback to Bieneck and Grossner.  Gallay and Klug are 0-5 against Ludwig and Walkenhorst with the last two losses to the German gals in pool play at the last two FIVB World Tour stops in Moscow and Hamburg.

Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, the reigning FIVB world champions and fifth-seeded in the Olsztyn Grand Slam, won their two matches Wednesday over pairs from Serbia and Germany to tie 12th-seeded Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic for the Pool E leadership.

The two teams have meet once on the international circuit with Hermannova and Slukova winning 2-1 (21-14, 13-21, 17-15) in a 47-minute elimination match three weeks ago at the Moscow Grand Slam.  Since then, the Czech gals have placed second to Ludwig and Walkenhorst at the European Championships while Agatha and Barbara have lost to the Germans in the finals last week in Hamburg.

In Pool G, 10th-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain are atop the standings with a 2-0 record with wins over teams from the Slovak Republic and the United States.  The Spaniards will play seventh-seeded Juliana Felisberta and Taiana Lima Thursday after the Brazilians dropped a 2-0 (22-20, 22-20) contest in 37 minutes to Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova of the Slovak Republic Wednesday.

The second annual event also features men’s matches starting with pool play Thursday and Friday.  The Olsztyn Grand Slam will have elimination rounds for women Friday followed by Saturday’s “final four” matches.  The men’s eliminator will be Saturday followed by the medal matches Sunday. The winning teams will share the $57,000 first-place prizes.


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