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Brazil’s Salgado-sisters eye gold and a fur hat

Maria Clara (photo) and Carolina Solberg reached the semifinals after a shaky start

Moscow, Russia, August 24, 2013 – Brazil’s Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado reached the final four for the 5th time this year after a shaky start at the Moscow Grand Slam. In the semifinal on Sunday they will play Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan.

After their 2-1 (21-18 18-21 15-10) win in the quarterfinal against Australia’s Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy, Maria Clara said that they were not only eying a gold medal after two silvers and two bronzes this season, but she really wanted to win the fur hat the winners always get in Moscow.

“We really wanted to do a good tournament in Russia, to do a semifinal here because I want a Russian cap”, she joked. “No, that is just one of the reasons. We want more, we already have the silver and bronze and now we want gold.”

The Salgado-sisters barely made it out of the pool on Friday with only one win and one point more than the number four. “We did not have a good start, we played really bad the first day against Russia and Kazakhstan. But I think we grew up during the tournament.”

“I think it’s the end of the season. And Carolina did not sleep till 5 am because of jet lag. Like three days straight, she slept at 3 am, 5 am. But it is no excuse for what we did on the first day, that was a really bad day. It was amazing that we got another chance.”

On Saturday they booked 2-0 wins over Swiss team Isabel Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, but they had a tough match against Bawden and Clancy.

“This was a hard one, the Australians really played well. They are a great team, really tall team. It’s difficult sometimes when we don’t get the block and their service is really good.”

“I think it was our hardest match today. The only match that was 2-1 and they did not play the second match against Lili and Barbara (forfeit). For sure they were a bit less tired.”

Ludwig and Walkenhorst thank the rain gods

In the other semifinal Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, bronze medallists at the European Championships, play Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst had a narrow escape in their second elimination match against Austria’s Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger, which was interrupted for over an hour because of thunderstorms.

“We were almost out, we kind of lost already”, Ludwig said. “We were one set behind and 17-12 behind in the second and then the rain god came and we had a break and we came back after that break, I still don’t know how.”

“After that we said we got a chance and we took it in the third game. We played really good and were focussed until the end”, Ludwig said after their 2-0 (21-16 21-16) win over Russia’s Ekaterina Syrtseva and Alexandra Shiryaeva in the quarterfinal.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst teamed up at the beginning of this year and reached their second World Tour semifinal, after finishing 4th in Gstaad. Their opponents in the semifinal, Menegatti and Orsi Toth, had an impressive run on Saturday, defeating Brazil’s World Tour leaders Lima and Antunes and Agatha and Antonelli.

“We played against them in the pool and there is a rule actually that you never win twice”, Ludwig said. “But we are going to change this rule. If we play at our best I know we can win.”

“Italy is a new team but they play better and better each game so I think the semi is going to be really good tomorrow, a good fight.”

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