Swiss fiesta at FIVB Grand Slam in Rome
News from the FIVB
Rome, Italy, June 17, 2012. Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr/Simone Kuhn edged Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany on Sunday in Rome to claim their first gold medal from a Grand Slam event of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.
The Swiss pair found their rhythm early on, controlled the match from start to finish and claimed the gold medal with a 21-12, 21-18 victory. “It is unbelievable,” Zumkehr said. “It definitely wasn’t easy. In the first set we served really, really well. It may have seemed easy, but we knew that they would come out in the second set and make it very hard and tough. That is how it was. We were behind and we knew that it would be a lot of work, but we believed in ourselves and served well”.
It is the pairs’ first gold medal on the World Tour since the 2009 Sanya Open. Since then the best they had managed is four quarterfinal places.
The Swiss pair dominated their German opponents from the start and Kuhn continued her impressive form at the net. The result ended a week in which they twice beat local favorites Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari and eliminated number one seeds Chen Xue and Zhang Xi of China. “Yesterday in the semifinal she was a monster at the net and I didn’t have too much responsibility behind her,” Zumkehr added. “Today our side-out wasn’t that great, but our block-defense was really good and I think that was the key”.
Jennifer Kessy and April Ross claimed the bronze medal with a win over Italians Cicolari and Menegatti. The USA pair won the first set, but the local favorites fought back in the second before Kessy and Ross silenced the Foro Italico crowd with a 21-17, 15-21, 15-13 victory. The medals are Kessy and Ross’ first of 2012. Their most recent appearance on a World Tour podium came at the 2011 Thailand Open in Phuket. “We are delighted with our bronze. It is our first medal since Thailand last year,” Kessy said. “Every time we play this Italian team it is 15-13 in the third. It is always a tough game against them and to beat them at home for the bronze is a big deal for us. They have played great all tournament and made it tough for us today”.
To complete the Swiss party in Rome Sébastien Chevallier and Sascha Heyer claimed the bronze medal of the men’s tournament with a 23-21, 21-13 victory against Matthew Fuerbringer and Nicholas Lucena of the USA. The Swiss dominated throughout the match and the USA pair was unable to cope with Heyer’s dominance at the net and Chevallier’s movement and agility at the back of the court. It is the first time in three matches that Chevallier and Heyer have beaten Fuerbringer and Lucena and their first podium finish since they won bronze at the 2011 Prague Open.
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