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Talita/Taiana land Shanghai Grand Slam title in style

Taiana de Souza Lima (left) and Talita Antunes da Rocha of Brazil are the 2013 Shanghai Grand Slam champions!

Shanghai, China, May 5, 2013 – Two-time Shanghai Open champion Talita Antunes da Rocha of Brazil and her new partner Taiana de Souza Lima clean swept Austria’s Schwaiger sisters in the Shanghai Grand Slam women’s final here on Sunday to win their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour/Open title together.

Following a well earned 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) victory ove Maria Clara Salgado Rufino/Carolina Solberg Salgado in an all-Brazilian semifinal Sunday morning, Talita/Taiana went on to beat Doris and Stefanie Schwaigers 21-13 and 21-11 in 34 minutes in the full-packed Jinshan Beach Volleyball Stadium.

The 30-year-old Talita, who had teamed up with Renata Ribeiro and Maria Antonelli to reach the top of the podium in 2008 and 2009 respectively, captured her 14th World Tour/Open title while the 28-year-old Taiana was crowned for the first time in 11 seasons.

“I am very happy to win, with the new team, new partner,” said Taiana, who was dominating in the semifinal and final match.

It was tied at 7-all in the first set of the final before Taiana had a short dink, two kills and an ace in a 6-1 run that pushed her team to 13-8 and the Brazilian duo went on to clinch the opener at 21-13. In the second set, the Austrians put up no real resistance either.

“She played very well and I am so happy that Taiana won her first gold medal,” said Talita. “We changed a lot of things and I feel we are doing good for Brazil.”

The Austrians, the bronze medallist in the Shanghai Open in 2011, received their first silver at FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam events.

“Directly after the final we were a little bit sad. We tried to do our best but we couldn’t, it didn’t really work out what we wanted to do, but things like this happen and we’ve had a great tournament with either two sets win or two sets loss, so it was fine, said Doris. “It’s been our first semifinal at a Grand Slam tournament, we only played Open semifinal and then to reach the final is great.”

“It was quite a tough game because there was a lot of strong wind in the court,” said Stefanie.

Earlier on Sunday, the Salgado sisters rallied past Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-8) in the bronze medal match to repeat their third place finish in the Shanghai Open four years ago.

Dropping the first set and trailing by 14-13 in the second set, the Maria and Carolina combined to work out a 6-1 surge to overtake the lead at 19-15. The Dutch women steadily pulled within 20-19, only to find Maria level one set back for Brazil with a nice spike. In the tiebreaker, the Salgado sisters kept the momentum as they jumped to a 7-4 lead and ended the match with another 6-1 run capped by a solid block by Carolina.

“It’s a really tough match and the Netherlands are a very good team and we lost in the first match, so it’s really hard for us to get into the game,” said Carolina. “But I think we wanted so much to win and I think that made the difference.”

“I played really bad in the first match and I wanted so much to be in the podium, and we had good luck to win the game,” she added.

“It’s really hard for us to play the first set, because we were still feeling about the semifinal, and then we said: the last match here we need to do better, and we can play better, even if we lose, we should lose in some other way. So let’s play in other ways, it just happened,” said Maria.

The bronze medal was a nice gift to Maria, who is turning 30 on Monday, especially after an unsuccessful tournament for her and Carolina in the season-opening Fuzhou Open, where they failed to qualify for the Main Draw.

“In Fuzhou we arrived late and we had a really tough flight and our body was really heavy. England players played good, but we didn’t play well at all. We felt terrible the whole week, practicing hard, thinking about the tournament for the Grand Slam. And I said to Carol, ‘I am turning 30, come on, we need to get good results before I am 30 Let’s do it and it’s worth it.”

After the conclusion of the $220,000 Shanghai Grand Slam, the first of this seaons’s FIVB-record 10 Grand Slam events, the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will continue in Corrientes, Argentina on May 22-26.

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