Ostrava, Czech Republic, May 30, 2019 – In an exciting all-USA duel for the first place in their pool, Alexandra Klineman & April Ross pulled off a tie-breaker win to become one of the eight women’s teams, who advanced directly to the second elimination round of the four-star J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open 2019 main draw on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Brazilian pairs won three of the pools, while the remaining four direct spots in the Round of 16 went to duos from Australia, Canada, Finland and Switzerland. Bottom-seeded Ukrainians Diana Lunina & Maryna Samoday continued with the surprises and pulled off an upset of top-seeded Czechs Barbora Hermannova & Marketa Slukova in their very first main draw match on Thursday.
Fourth-seeded Alexandra Klineman & April Ross had a tough run in Pool D and had to work hard through two three-setters to reach the top. First, they managed a 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 15-12) win over Wednesday’s “lucky losers” Vasiliki Arvaniti & Panagiota Karagkouni.
In the all-American pool final with another qualifying team, Brooke Sweat & Kerri Walsh Jennings, Klineman & Ross had to come back from a set down and later fight off an opponent match point to emerge with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 17-15) victory. Towards the end of the second set, Ross hammered three aces in a row to direct the course of the set in their favour.
“Our serving was part of the strategy we were starting to figure out. I am just going for my best serve every time and if I could get aces when I wanted I would do it,” she commented with a smile. “But it helped us get some momentum for sure. We are just really excited to have pulled two out today. We are going to rest a little bit and prepare on our side of the net more than anything, and we’ll just take it one match at a time and one point at a time.”
At own match point, Klineman also aced to close it all off.
“I was deciding between two serves and April had me use the one that I ended up using, so I am happy she suggested it. I don’t think we were totally in our rhythm to start the day and I think we got better and better as the game went on. We made some good adjustments and we are looking to improve as the tournament goes on.”
Brazil’s Fernanda Alves blocks a shot by Germany’s Isabel Schneider
A titanic all-Brazilian clash occurred in the battle for the top of Pool E. After a 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) win over Germany’s Victoria Bieneck & Isabel Schneider, 12th-seeded Barbara Seixas De Freitas & Fernanda Alves, who came in from Wednesday’s qualifications, persevered for a 2-1 (20-22, 21-19, 15-11) victory over fifth-seeded compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk & Eduarda Santos Lisboa.
Third-seeded Brazilians Ana Patricia Silva Ramos & Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva also won their first match in straight sets – 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) over Czechs Michaela Kubickova & Michala Kvapilova, but then had to come back from a set down to master a 2-1 (19-21, 21-14, 15-8) turnaround against USA’s Sarah Sponcil & Kelly Claes on the way to the first place in Pool C.
Germany’s Kozuch and Brazil’s Carol in action over the net
The third Brazilian pair that won their pool, ninth-seeded Maria Antonelli & Carolina Solberg Salgado, did things differently, starting with a three-setter and finishing off with a shutout – 2-1 (21-15, 16-21, 15-9) against Germany’s Laura Ludwig & Margareta Kozuch and 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) over Canada’s Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes.
Australia’s Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho, Canada’s Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson, Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Anniina Parkkinen and Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich & Anouk Verge-Depre also won their pools for the right to skip the first knockout round on Friday. All other teams are still in contention as the third place matches in the pools are scheduled for Friday morning.