Maria Antonelli (left) and Carolina Salgado are defending their title in The Hague
The Hague, the Netherlands, January 3, 2018 – Defending champions Carolina Salgado and Maria Antonelli led the way from qualifying to the Dela Beach Open main draw when they won both their qualification matches on Wednesday.
The Brazilian pair were one of eight who progressed to pool play and they did so in convincing fashion with a 2-0 (25-23, 21-18) win over Norway’s Ingrid Lunde and Oda Johanne Ulveseth at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague.
“Qualification is always a crazy match and there is so much emotion,” Carolina said. “I started the match very anxiously, but Maria helped me so much the way she served throughout the game.
“We had the patience to get into the game point by point and that will make us stronger for the tournament. It was very important for us to play in this court because we’d only player on centre court.”
Carolina and Maria Antonelli triumphed in The Hague in June 2017 at the height of the Dutch summer with a win over Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Verge Anouk Depre.
If they repeat their success in 2018 they will do so indoors. In 2017 centre court was outdoors and they used two indoor courts where the Dutch team trains in the winter. This time centre court has moved indoors where a 2,500-capacity court has been constructed.
“I’m very proud of Carolina,” Maria Antonelli said. “She started slow, but she was very brave as always. We always feel the pressure against these teams.
“No one is better than the other and we have to put our energy into every point. I’m proud because we did it.”
Sweden’s Kristina and Susanna Thurin will join the Brazilians in the main draw, the first time they have reached such a stage a World Tour event.
The 25-year-olds erupted with delight when they scored the winning point in their 2-0 (21-13, 21-18) win over the Netherlands’ Annemieke Driessen and Ilke Meertens, and ran around the court in delight.
“We’re really happy, it is so surprising,” Kristina Thurin said. “Everything is new so we will try to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
For all the women’s Dela Beach Open qualification results, click here