FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Antalya Open | 20 - 25 October 2015


Press release

Menegatti and Orsi Toth storm into Antalya final four with straight wins

Marta Menegatti (photo) and Viki Orsi Toth withstood rain and storm to reach their third final four in a row

Antalya, Turkey, October 23, 2015 – Marta Menegatti and Viki Orsi Toth reached their third final four in a row on a very rainy and stormy Friday at the FIVB World Tour Antalya Open. The second seeded Italians defeated two German teams to get to the semifinal: Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider (21-16, 21-14) and Kim Behrens and Anni Schumacher (21-13, 21-15).

Due to the bad weather Menegatti and Orsi Toth's quarterfinal against Behrens and Schumacher was postponed and moved to the second venue at Akdeniz University at the last moment. “It was a very hard match", said Menegatti. "Because our match was originally scheduled for four, but because of the weather it was postponed. We were the last two teams to get on the court. That was very hard mentally. But I think we handled the wind very well, we were patient and we are very happy now."

In the semifinal they will play Argentina’s third seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug who knocked out French pair Laura Longuet and Alexandra Jupiter (19-21, 21-14, 15-13) and Finland’s Taru Lahti and Riikka Lehtonen (21-17, 21-19) on Friday.

Menegatti and Orsi Toth, who booked nothing but straight wins so far in Antalya, claimed gold and bronze in their last two World Tour events in Sochi and Puerto Vallarta and are leading the series against the Argentineans 2-0. Gallay and Klug just recently won their first medal; silver at the Xiamen Open.

USA vs Czech Republic

The other semifinal features two teams who have reached only their first final four; USA’s Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day and Czech pair Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova. Though both 2012 Olympic silver medallist Kessy and Slukova individually won plenty of medals before.

Sixth seeded Kessy and Day eliminated Russian pair Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Birlova (21-16, 18-21, 15-13) in the morning before they met up with Austria’s Stefanie Schwaiger and Barbara Hansel in the middle of a tropical storm. The rain and wind turned the centre court into a battlefield, on which the US team prevailed in two sets (21-16, 21-13).

According to 38-year old Kessy these were the worst weather conditions she had ever encountered in her long career. “I played in Stavanger for years, but the wind was never like that. And the constant rain the entire time, the ball weighing 15 pounds, I mean, it was terrible. But their mindset was they wanted to stop, our mindset was ‘just keep going, we are already out here’ and I think that was what helped us.”

Kessy and Day engaged on a road to the 2016 Rio Olympics only in May, just after Kessy gave birth to a baby girl. Reaching their first final four is a huge milestone. “It was important for us to get into the semis here”, Kessy said. “For our Olympic hope. We need a medal and hopefully we get one tomorrow.”

At the same time, on one of the side courts at the Antalya Beach Park, 13th seeded Slukova and Hermannova also struggled with the weather in their second match of the day. Earlier they had easily set aside Russia’s Anastasia Barsuk and Alexandra Moiseeva 2-0 (21-17, 21-14), but in the quarterfinal against Yulia Abakalina and Ekaterina Syrtseva, also from Russia, they lost the first set: 11-21, 21-12, 15-13.

Creepy conditions

Slukova: “In my career I have never played in such creepy conditions. It seemed to me like out of this world. Everything happened so fast and it wasn’t pretty volleyball for sure.”

“In the first set of the quarterfinal we really struggled”, she continued. “We had so much aces against us. I couldn’t put the ball down and we couldn’t find any set up for these conditions. We got a little bit frustrated, because that was definitely not the way we wanted to fight for a semifinal.”

“In the second set we calmed down, we talked to each other and said that we had nothing to lose. We made some funny points and started to enjoy the awkward situation.”

For the Czech girls this final four came as a big surprise, not because it’s the team’s first, but Slukova sprained her ankle in Xiamen and it was uncertain till the last moment if they could play in Antalya. Hermannova: “We are totally happy with this, because we didn’t expect, after Marketa’s injury, to get this good result.”

The women’s semifinals of the inaugural Antalya Open are scheduled for Saturday morning, followed by the bronze medal match and final in the afternoon. And the weather forecast says rain again.

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