Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 28, 2015 – A hard-fought win and a cake to top it. Marketa Slukova could not be happier. The fair-haired Czech blocker turned 27 on Sunday and treated herself and partner Kristyna Kolocova to a hard fought victory over Canada (18-21, 31-29, 15-12).
With this second pool match win the Czech girls already secured a spot in the elimination rounds of the FIVB World Championships. They celebrated with the birthday cake the Rotterdam organizers surprised them with.
“Thank you. This is such a nice surprise”, Slukova said when Rotterdam ambassador Rebekka Kadijk presented her the cake during the on court interview on national TV. “We are definitely going to enjoy this.”
And they will need to refuel, because it was a tough match against Canadians Jamie Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas. After losing the first set, it was touch and go for the Czech girls in the second. Finally, on their 9th set point Slukova enforced a tiebreak with a big block: 31-29. Then it was point by point in the third till 10-10, before they managed to break away.
Kolocova’s serve and Slukova’s big blocks made the difference in the end. Slukova: “We started to force them to make mistakes. We knew we had to break their run. So we served a little better, we had a little more luck and we had some good break points. And I think that was the key.”
“It was a really long match, really hard”, Kolocova said. “The Canadians are really great this year, they are really in shape. We knew they were a really good team and we are very happy we could fight our way through and win today.”
While the Canadians already collected some trophies this season – gold in Fuzhou and bronze in Lucerne – the Czech pair’s best finish so far was 9th in Moscow and Stavanger.
After a very successful 2014, with gold in Prague and Berlin and bronze in Gstaad, they are lacking a bit of consistency this year, Slukova said. "We have had some great games this year, but we are not really as consistent as we would like to. But we just try to work on it. The season is still long, we had a great season last year, and so we expected that there would be a dip. It’s like we were riding a wave, we were a little down and now we have to work hard to get up again. So we hope it will come back and we can play a little bit more consistent and win some tough games. And this one was a good start.”