Ostrava, Czech Republic, May 29, 2019 – Among the amazing ironworks of old industrial architecture at the Lower Vitkovice heritage site, eight pairs from seven different countries emerged victorious from the women’s qualifications on Wednesday to advance to the 32-team main draw of the four-star J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open 2019 on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
Ukraine’s Diana Lunina & Maryna Samoday, seeded 20th in the qualification bracket, were the lowest ranked duo to progress to the main draw. Lunina & Samoday started their day with a match against 13th-seeded Norwegians Ingrid Lunde & Oda Johanne Ulveseth. With a strong four-point run for the finish line, the Ukrainians closed it off at 2-0 (21-17, 21-19). In the deciding round, they continued their quest with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) shutout of fourth-seeded Megumi Murakami & Miki Koshikawa of Japan, the only top-eight team to drop out of contention.
“We worked very hard for this, without much rest in between the tournaments, so we are exhausted, but in the end it is all worthwhile. This is our second four-star tournament in a row, where we make the main draw, and I think this is a great success for us. We are improving and we are very happy,” Samoday commented.
Barbara & Fernanda greet each other for advancing to the main draw
Brazil was the only country with two pairs among the eight qualifiers. Top-seeded Barbara Seixas De Freitas & Fernanda Alves cruised through a couple of emphatic straight-setters – 2-0 (21-12, 21-11) over Slovakia’s Jana Simanicova & Lenka Vandakova and 2-0 (21-8, 21-14) over China’s Jinjin Zeng & MeiMei Lin. Third-seeded Talita Da Rocha Antunes & Taiana Lima started off in a similar fashion, 2-0 (21-7, 21-12) over Hungary’s Brigitta Denesi & Eszter Toth, but then had to work for it on the way to a 2-1 (21-14, 16-21, 15-9) success against Spain’s Paula Soria Gutierrez & Maria Belen Carro Marquez de Acunya.
The only other three-setter in the second round took place between Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti & Panagiota Karagkouni and Latvia’s Tina Graudina & Anastasija Kravcenoka. After 44 minutes of play in what was the longest running match of the day, the Latvians emerged with a hard-earned 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 16-14) victory to book a spot among the best 32 teams of the tournament.
Tina Graudina in action against Portugal’s Vanessa Paquete
USA’s Brooke Sweat & Kerri Walsh Jennings, Germany’s Laura Ludwig & Margareta Kozuch, China’s Chen Xue & Xinxin Wang and Austria’s Katharina Schuetzenhoefer & Lena Plesiutschnig claimed the other four available slots in the women’s main draw to get into action on Thursday.