Italy and the Netherlands set for big clash in pool E

Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 28, 2015 - With both teams still undefeated after two matches at the World Championships, Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo and Dutch pair Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen are set to clash for top position in pool E on Monday in Rotterdam.

The reigning world champions from the Netherlands booked another straight win on Sunday, this time over Chili’s Matias Tobar and Rodrigo Salinas (21-12, 21-14).

Nicolai and Lupo, the current European champions, won in straight sets (21-14, 21-14) against Austria’s Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl.

Although both teams are certain of a spot in the elimination rounds, top position in the pool means that they don’t have to move to another location. And it will be a good test to measure their strength.

“Tomorrow will be the big game against the world champions”, Nicolai said after the Sunday match. “We will be very focussed, we will do everything possible to win that match.”

“There will be pressure, but the pressure will be a lot bigger later on in the elimination rounds. Tomorrow will be a great test for that.”

Italy leads the series against the Dutch 4-2, but the last time the teams met – in Moscow last month – Brouwer and Meeuwsen won. And the Dutch will also have the home crowd behind them.

“But we are not scared of the crowd”, Nicolai said. “It’s so much fun to play in this kind of atmosphere.”

Brouwer and Meeuwsen are also looking forward to the big clash. “It’s undoubtedly going to be a spectacular game”, Brouwer promised. “For us this will be the first real test. But we played two good matches so far and we will face Italy for the top position in the pool with a lot of confidence.”

Slukova celebrates birthday with another win

In the women’s tournament the match between Canada and the Czech Republic was by far the most exciting one. Czech pair Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova came back from one set down (18-21, 31-29, 15-12) to leave Jamie Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas empty handed.

Slukova, who turned 27 on Sunday, received another birthday present right after the game: a big, pink birthday cake, presented to her by Rotterdam ambassador and former player Rebekka Kadijk.

Kolocova and Slukova will play Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska on Tuesday for top position in pool E. The Polish girls are also still undefeated after a 2-0 (21-8, 21-10) win over Morocco.

Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler also booked their second 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) victory, this time over Venezuela’s Olaya and Nori.

The 4th seeded Germans are the highest ranked women’s team in Rotterdam, but that is no guarantee for success, Holtwick said.

“We were seeded high a few times this year, but we finished 9th every time. So that doesn’t mean anything.” Semmler agreed: “Ranking doesn’t mean anything. In the end it counts what you do on the court.”

For Holtwick (31) and Semmler (29) this is their 4th World Championships. “But every tournament is different. We didn’t know what to expect here”, Semmler said. “But we really like our little venue.”

Holtwick added: “It’s an intimate setting, everything is close by. It’s kind of cool here. Our goal is to be first in the pool, so we can stay here.”


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