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Ana Patricia and Rebecca rally past Italians in Qinzhou final

Qinzhou, China, October 4, 2018 – Brazil’s Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa rallied to beat Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-12) in the women’s final of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Qinzhou 3-star on Thursday.

Ana Patricia and Rebecca had difficulty to find their range, while the Italians showed well-calibrated offence and strong net defence that gave them an early lead in the opening set. The Brazilians made a late run, but Orsi Toth’s hit closed the set at 21-18.

Ana Patricia finally found her drive and unleashed a barrage of powerful spikes and serves that astounded their rivals. Rebecca then stepped up and made a strong charge, putting the Europeans in trouble, until it finally collapsed at 21-15.

In the third set, Ana Patricia and Rebecca took turns on the attack to exploit the defence of their rivals, but Menegatti’s clutch game helped trim down the lead to within two points at 14-12. Finally, Ana Patricia hammered down a spike that secured them the gold medal win at 15-12.

“I capitalised on my strengths – spiking and serving,” Ana Patricia said. “When we lost the first set I just said to myself that I need to make some adjustments and help to win this game, but for me Rebecca made the big difference.”

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Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes completed their Qinzhou 3-star stint on a positive note as the they claimed the bronze medal, following a 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) win over Russia’s Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Birlova.

The USA pair showed assertiveness on their offence, which shut down the Russian net defence.

“It’s really exciting to come out in your first tournament and win a medal,” Claes said. “We obviously have a lot to work on even with this finish. I’m really excited to grow this team and see what we can do.

“Between our (semifinal) loss and our (bronze medal) win, the main difference was aggressiveness. We were not aggressive in our passing and our swings or serving and that’s one thing that we changed in this match. We did that and we came up with the win.”

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