FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 September 2014

#SaoPauloGS


Press release

First FIVB World Tour medal bittersweet for Italy's Menegatti/Orsi Toth


Italy's Marta Menegatti, left, passing the Mikasa to Viktoria Orsi Toth as the duo won the silver medal in a hard-fought three-set match over Brazil's Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes Sunday at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 28, 2014 — It's hard to feel like something impressive has been achieved when you lose the gold medal match in a FIVB Grand Slam final 21-19 in the tiebreaker set, especially when you had match points, but that was the story of  this week's FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam for Italy's silver medalists Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth.

"It's a second place in a FIVB Grand Slam, and that's okay for us, we are so happy, so satisfied," said Menegatti putting on a brave face afterwards. "But when you're here to play a final you want to win and when you lose so close, it's not good."
 
In so many eyes, the number 11 seeds from Italy were clearly the lesser-favored pair going into the final against Brazil's Larissa and Talita, winners of the previous two Grand Slam tournaments, but they took the first set 21-18 with Orsi Toth particularly strong against Talita at the net and then forced extra points in losing the second.

It was in the tiebreak where they couldn't quite close out victory, despite the match points, but their play was heavily complemented after by the victors. "A lot of pople thought that we would win easy," said Larissa. "But the favoritism doesn't go on the court with you and they played a great game."

Like Menegatti, her partner Orsi Toth was equally disappointed with 'just' silver, even though it was the best FIVB World Tour result of her career, and she didn't know how long it would take for her medal to really feel like a victory.

"It's too complicated to say," she said shaking her head. "I know the game was very close, and I'm happy for the medal, but I could be happier."

Once the empty feeling of such a narrow final loss has worn off, Italy's top-ranked women's partnership will certainly feel satisfaction at a job well done in Sao Paulo, where they were finally able to turn one of a host of frustrating second round elimination exits and a couple of FIVB Grand Slam semifinals into a first ever FIVB World Tour medal.

They made the semifinals in Brazil at the 2013 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam, but lost 2-1 to eventual champions Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, and this year they also got to the final four at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam, but lost 2-0 to Brazil's Maria Antonelli and Juliana.

However, an indication of how close they were to a medal breakthrough in 2014 is their season's list of 'near-misses' which include just missing out on the quarterfinals at four different FIVB Grand Slam events, and every single time on a tiebreak.

In Sao Paulo this year they got their revenge on Walsh Jennings and Ross with a 2-0 win in tricky wet rainy conditions, a result that Orsi Toth said made her "really really really really really happy", and then managed to back that up with a tiebreak win over the Netherlands' Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink in the semifinal to guarantee the partnership's and Orsi Toth's first ever medal.

At that point, instead of in the wake of a final defeat, the achievement was easier for them to evaluate in more realistic terms. "At the end of the tiebreak I was shaking," said Orsi Toth. "It's a dream, it's my first time in a final. We have worked really hard in this season, and sometimes we lost some important matches by just two points and now finally everything goes in the good way."

Menegatti, who already had eight FIVB World Tour medals to her name (alongside Greta Cicolari), was equally satisfied with the newish team's first medal after their semifinal win and highlighted the connection between them as the key factor in their success.

"My first final with Viki," she said. "Just one year and two months that we have played together, so the satisfaction is... well, I have no words. We worked a lot, we like each other in the court and outside the court and I think this is our strength, and we never give up."

They certainly never gave up in the 2014 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam final, fighting against their opponents and a noisy home crowd strongly in favor of their opponents to come within touching distance of a first-ever gold medal, and it's a sign of things to come if the pair 24-year-olds (Orsi Toth just two days older than Menegatti) have anything to do with it.

"It IS a positive result for us," concluded Menegatti after uncontrollably smiling her way through the awarding ceremony. "We are still developing, so I think this is a very, very good result. It's because of hard work together and we hope to continue this way."

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