Baden, Austria, May 29, 2013. It was a sunny day in Austria. A perfect start for the CEV Baden Masters, which began with the Country Quota Playoffs for women, which were needed for two countries – Netherlands and Switzerland – to finally qualify Bloem/Kadijk and Goricanec/Hüberli to the qualification round on Thursday.
Braakman-Sinnema received a bye, so the first game of the tournament was the Dutch battle between Stiekema/Stubbe and Bloem/Kadijk. The opening set was very close, but Bloem/Kadijk managed to win it 21-18. In the second set, Stiekema/Stubbe fought back to overcome their opponents 21-16. Bloem/Kadijk had the better start in the decisive third set and got an early 6-2 lead. After a timeout, the young duo of Stiekema/Stubbe found their way back into the game. It was close right until the very end, but Bloem/Kadijk converted their second match point for a 16-14 victory.
The second game of the day was between Swiss teams Kayser/Graessli and Goricanec/Hüberli. In the beginning it was a tight game, with no team able to get an edge. Kayser/Graessli seized the first set (21-18), Goricanec/Hüberli won the second with the same score. Then Goricanec/Hüberli found their rhythm and cruised to a 14:10 victory. Unfortunately, block specialist Hüberli twisted her ankle and had to take a medical time out, one point from victory. However, after five minutes of treatment the game continued and Goricanec/Hüberli converted their second match point.
Meanwhile, the local beach stars had their first practice sessions on Baden’s beautiful center court. Doppler/Horst and Huber/Seidl played some training sets against each other and they will now have one more day off before they compete in Friday’s main draw. All commented that feel good to be back home in Austria; “Its great to be back in Baden. We’re very motivated. We want to defend our title in front of our fans.”, said Clemens Doppler, who won last years “CEV Satellite” with his partner Alex Horst.
Spectator favourites Kunert/Petutschnig, last years semi finalists, had a good training session too, but they have to play in the qualification round tomorrow and will do everything, to make it to the main draw and show their skills in front of Baden’s great spectators. “We love Baden, it’s our first highlight of the season.”