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Moscow Grand Slam | Women
  6/06/2012 - 11/06/2012

Top three makes no mistake in Moscow

First seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang from China won both their matches in pool play on Friday
Moscow, Russia, June 8, 2012 – The top three teams made no mistake in the first two rounds of women’s pool play at the FIVB SWATCH World Tour Moscow Grand Slam on Friday. China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, Brazil’s Larissa França/Juliana Felisberta and Talita Antunes/Maria Antonelli edged their opponents without conceding any set on the courts at the Victory Park venue.

First seeded Xue and Zhang, Moscow champions in 2008 and 2010, booked an easy victory over Russia’s Maria Bratkova/Svetlana Popova (21-11 21-16), but had to go all the way against 17th seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney from Canada. After a thrilling second set the Chinese finally prevailed with 21-19 30-28.

World champions Larissa and Juliana, who lost the Moscow final last year to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, showed excellent form, cruising by Georgia’s Saka/Rtvelo (21-14 21-18) and 18th seeded Hana Klapalova/Lenka Hajeckova from the Czech Republic (21-13 21-15).

Third seeded Talita and Antonelli followed their lead. The 2012 Sanya champions beat Italy’s Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli 21-12 21-8 in just 30 minutes and also set aside their Brazilian compatriots Vivian da Conceiçao/Taiana Lima (21-19 21-18) in pool C.

Last season May-Treanor and Walsh

Olympic champions May-Treanor and Walsh are determined to make up for their sluggish start this season and defend their title successfully in the Russian capital. They lived up to that promise on Friday by powering past Japanese Satoko and Take Nishibori (21-15 21-12) and Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler (21-15 21-12) from Germany in straight sets.

Finishing second last year in the FIVB World Tour ranking with eight final fours and three gold medals, this year the Americans have not been able to reach a final four yet. They placed 5th in Brasilia and 9th in Shanghai and Beijing. ‘’We had some bad finishes so far. We are a little bit too tense’’, Walsh explained. ‘’This is our last season and that brings along a lot of emotions. It is pretty heavy for us both. But here in Moscow we decided to just have fun, just play.’’

That is exactly what it looked like on their first day in Moscow. Both girls looked at ease, hitting the ball on two whenever possible. ‘’We have a new coach, we decided two coaches was too much, too many different opinions. So we simplified our game. And playing in two is one of the things we added. Finish it whenever it is possible. Funny thing is that this season, for the first time, we are both feeling very fit, no injuries. Misty worked her but off this winter to get her knee in shape and get rid of the brace.’’

Russia's honour

Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova saved Russia's honour, being the only home team to win a match on Friday. After losing to Dutch Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel (18-21 23-21 11-15) they beat Germany's Karla Borger and Britta Büthe in three sets (23-21 16-21 15-12). ''I think that were able to win both of them, but were a little bit unlucky against team Holland'', Vasina said. ''You know, to play at home – there is always a lot of pressure. But we will do our best to make our fans happy.''

The women’s tournament continues on Saturday with the third and final round matches in pool play and the first single elimination round. Pool winners go directly to the second round, the pool numbers two and three advance to the first round. The women’s semifinals and medal matches of the fifth consecutive Moscow Grand Slam are scheduled for Monday.

The $600.000 Moscow Grand Slam is the fifth out of thirteen women’s events, including the Olympic Games in London, on the 2012 World Tour calendar. After Moscow the World Tour travels to Italy for the Rome Grand Slam (June 12-17). This is the last event counting for the olympic ranking.   
More press releases
12/06/2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour update
11/06/2012 China’s Xue/Zhang claim third title in ‘lucky’ Moscow
10/06/2012 Two Brazilian teams in women’s final four in Moscow
9/06/2012 China's Xue/Zhang on track for another medal in Moscow
9/06/2012 Australia’s Louise Bawden aiming for second Olympics
8/06/2012 Top three makes no mistake in Moscow
7/06/2012 First GS main draw for Giaoui/Benhamou and Urata/Take
30/05/2012 Moscow eager to impress ahead of Grand Slam
28/02/2012 Khomyakova targets “medals in Moscow”