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Lili and Elsa to meet Ross and Walsh in first World Tour final

Elsa (left) and Lili didn't hide their delight at reaching a first Grand Slam final
Stavanger, Norway, June 28, 2014 – Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo will meet April Ross and Kerri Walsh in their first ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Grand Slam final on Saturday.

The Stavanger Grand Slam gold medal match starts at 17.30 local time.

The Spanish pair beat Dutch duo Madelein Meppelink and Marleen van Iersel 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 15-12), while Americans Ross and Walsh were pushed hard by first time semifinalists Natalia Dubovcova and Dominika Nestarcova of Slovakia before winning 2-1 (21-14, 17-21, 15-10). 

It was the second clash between the Spanish and Dutch teams in three weeks. They met in Moscow Grand Slam bronze medal match two weeks ago, a match Meppelink and van Iersel won 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-12).

“We are very, very happy,” Lili said. “We knew it was going to be a tough semi-final. We lost the last time against them, so we wanted revenge and we fought for it to the end.”

This will be Baquerizo and Fernandez’s third World Tour final, but they are still awaiting their first wins after the two previous Open finals ended with two second place finishes. 

“It is a great time to play against them (Ross and Walsh),” Elsa said. “I hope we enjoy the match and I hope we win. They are a great team, so it will be very hard.”

For Ross and Walsh the final is their fifth in less than a year together. 

After appearing set for a straightforward semifinal win, Dubovcova and Nestarcova shrugged off their early nerves in the second set and then raced into the lead in the third. However, a well-timed time-out allowed them take stock and come back to win. 

“That Slovakian team played really well. They really tested us, and it was great preparation for the final,” said Ross. “I am really proud have we stayed together and came through at the end.”

“We have a tendency of getting really excited. We had to let go a little bit, to regain control,” Walsh added. “We need to pull back sometimes. After every point we came together, and it felt good.”

The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 25 until Sunday June 29. It is the eighth event and the fourth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Gstaad Grand Slam which runs from July 9-13.

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