Dutch girls through after marathon match against Kazakhstan

The Hague, the Netherlands, June 11, 2013 – Dutch team Laura Bloem and Rimke Braakman reached the main draw of the Transavia The Hague Grand Slam on Tuesday as one of the eight women’s team advancing from the qualification tournament. Having only practiced once together the girls surprisingly beat two higher ranked teams on the first day of the Dutch Grand Slam.

Bloem and Braakman first set aside Barbara Hansel and Katharina Schützenhöfer from Austria in two sets (22-20 21-18). In the afternoon, when the sun was shining at it’s brightest on the Scheveningen beach, they also eliminated third seeded Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova on centre court.

Three sets and 49 minutes

The Dutch needed three sets and 49 minutes to overcome the team from Kazakhstan: 22-24 21-12 15-13. “The first set was very close, but we could not finish it. And they did”, Bloem said. In the second and third set Bloem and Braakman, playing their first World Tour event together, kept their cool and put on more pressure. Braakman: “We really played very clean in the end and had a very good side-out.”

Home advantage

The home advantage was part of their good performance. Bloem: “We can play on centre court here at home and all the people watching, are cheering for us this time.” Braakman (22), who finished fifth last week at the World Championships under 23 in Myslowice with Jolien Sinnema, lives just two minutes away from the beach. “It’s really close and we always practise here. So I feel really comfortable here.”

Bloem and Braakman will be making new plans this evening. “Our goal was getting into main draw, so anything can happen now”, Braakman said. Bloem: “Now we have to set new goals.”

The other teams that advanced to main draw pool play were Brazil’s Maria Clara/Carol, Germany’s Köhler/Schumacher, Dubovcova/Nestarcova from Slovakia, the Nystrom-sisters from Finland, Italy’s Gioria/Giombini, two more.

FIVB Transavia Grand Slam tournament page

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