Rotterdam, the Netherlands, July 2, 2015 – Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler defeated USA’s Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) Thursday evening in Rotterdam to move into the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships for the first time in their long career.
“Semifinals! It feels amazing”, Semmler said, “We just can’t believe it.” The Germans have had an impeccable run in Rotterdam, winning all their matches in straight sets.
Asked about the secret of their success, Semmler said: “I think we just have fun on the court, we fight for every point and believe in ourselves. I don’t know. We just stick together and as I said we have fun on the court and play the game we love.”
The 29-year old Semmler ruled at the net, not giving the Americans any opportunities to come into close range. Fendrick and Sweat, who knocked out Italian pool winners Marta Menegatti and Vicky Orsi Toth in the second round (21-18, 21-19) earlier that day, were trailing throughout the match.
Fendrick was under a lot pressure, every German serve went her way. "It was a hard match”, Fendrick admitted. “I didn't play my best, I made a lot of errors in the beginning, a lot of nets. I missed blocking assignments. That kind of stinks. Thumbs up to them, they played really well. We will learn from this and we're moving on to the next tournament."
Semmler: “I think we served better than the Americans and could play better block and defence on this serve. And even when we made mistakes we kept on playing hard and aggressive and did not get frustrated from our own mistakes.”
The 4th seeded Germans, who defeated Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Birlova 2-0 (21-18, 24-22) in the second elimination round, won two golds, five silvers and six bronzes in thirteen seasons, but never reached the final four of a World Championship.
They finished 9th in Rome (2011) and 17th in Stavanger (2009) and Stare Jablonki (2013). And their last final four dates back to the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam in August 2014 (bronze).
For the semifinal match against Brazil’s Lima & Fernanda the Rotterdam queens will have to say goodbye to their beloved cruise ship, the ss Rotterdam, and move to The Hague. “That’s the only sad part about it”, Semmler joked. “We should play the final here. Because we love this court, it’s been like our own home court.”