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Talita and Lima on course for back-to-back gold

Talita (right) and Lima are aiming for their third World Tour gold of 2013 at the smart Grand Slam - Rome
Rome, Italy, June 22, 2013 –Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima are on course to win a second gold medal in consecutive FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour grand slams after they reached the final of the smart Grand Slam – Rome on Saturday, where they will meet USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross. 

The Brazilian pair held off a strong challenge from first-time semi-finalists Britta Buthe and Karla Borger of Germany to win 2-1 (21-19, 13-21, 15-11).

"It was so hard and we had good times and bad times in the match, but Taiana helped me a lot,” Talita said. “She served well and was a good partner all the time. She said good things and kept our belief up. Then in the third set we were more focused than in the second one.”

Talita and Taiana have quickly made their mark since teaming up at the start of the year. They won gold at the Shanghai Grand Prix and then a week ago they battled wet and windy conditions to add a second gold to their collections at The Hague Grand Slam.

“They are a good team and getting better and better compared to last year and the year before. It was a not a surprise to see them here, they are improving and getting better and better.”

Kessy and Ross aim for more Rome glory

Kessy and Ross remained on course for a second consecutive podium finish with a 2-1 (21-19, 10-21, 15-13) win against Brazil’s Liliane Maestrini and Barbara Seixas De Freitas. A year ago they finished with the bronze medals, while in 2010 they won gold. 

The match came to down to a close third set and the teams continued to take points off each others’ serve until the US duo grabbed match point and booked their place in the final with a Kessy block to meet the team that knocked them out of the Shanghai Grand Slam this year.
“We’re hoping it is gold,” Kessy said. “We definitely love this place, the sand works in our favour, it is a little deep and it was hot this week. I think it just feels very special here. We just like it in Rome, whatever the weather. 

“They (Talita and Lima) are playing amazing. We played them in Shanghai in a close three-setter and didn’t end up on top in that one. We are going to watch a ton of video and we owe them one.”

The Rome Grand Slam is the fourth Grand Slam of 10 on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The competition runs from June 17 until June 23, when both the men’s and women’s finals take place. 

Following the Rome Grand Slam, the world’s leading players take a week’s break before the start of the ninth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki from July 1-7. After the World Championships are completed the World Tour resumes the following week at the Gstaad Grand Slam in the Swiss Alps. 

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