Hamburg, Germany, August 24, 2017 - The $800,000 Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone are seen by many teams competing in Hamburg as a reward for a positive season. And that’s definitely the case for Marketa Slukova/Barbora Hermannova and Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova, the first teams to represent the Czech Republic in the tournament.
Both teams qualified for the World Tour Finals through the world rankings, with Slukova/Hermannova at fifth, the best-ever ranking for the country, and Kolocova/Kvapilova ranked 10th. To Slukova, a two-time Olympian with 87 FIVB World Tour starts, the good season both teams had is a good sign for the sport in her country.
“Czech beach volleyball, especially on the women’s side, is really strong this year,” the 29-year-old Slukova said. “We all got new partnerships a couple of years ago and I think that was the boost we needed. We had two top 10 teams in the world this season and this is a great advertisement for the sport in our country.”
Barbora Hermannova in action against Canada's Brandie Wilkerson in Hamburg
If Slukova and Hermannova had their best performances on the World Tour, Kolocova and Kvapilova gave the country a silver medal in the Europeans Championships last weekend, in Jurmala, Latvia. The duo is confident that they can keep the momentum going in Hamburg and surprise the favourites to compete for a medal.
“I wouldn’t say the medal we won last weekend makes us favourites to get another one here,” Kolocova said. “There are many strong teams here that have been together for longer than we have and have had so many good results. But we are in a position where hopefully we can surprise them.”
Kolocova and Kvapilova started their campaign in Hamburg with a sound 2-0 (22-20, 21-10) win over Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Depré, while Slukova and Bonnerova were upset by Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson also in straight sets 2-0 (16-21, 15-21).
Both teams return to action later on Thursday with Slukova/Bonnerova facing Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes and Kolocova/Kvapilova playing against Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur, the same team they defeated in the semifinals in Jurmala last week.