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Talita and Lima make it treble joy with gold in Rome

Talita (left) and Lima claimed a third World Tour gold medal a week out from the start of the World Championships
Rome, Italy, June 23, 2013 – Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima won their third gold medal of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour with victory in the gold medal match of the smart Grand Slam – Rome on Sunday. 

The Brazilian pair beat USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross to win 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-12) and add the Rome gold to their victories in The Hague and Shanghai Grand Slams. 

“I am so happy,” Talita said. “In this match we had good times and bad times and Ross and Kessy were so good tonight. I am so happy for Taiana to score the last point.”

Talita and Lima dominated the first set and carried that form into the second. However, mid-way through the second set the USA pair called a time-out and from then on they worked their way back into the match. The Brazilians took the initiative early in the tie-break though and while Kessy and Ross saved three match points, a Lima drop-shot won the match.

Next up for the Talita and Lima are the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland. The players have just over a week to recover from their endeavours in The Eternal City for the tournament that begins on July 1.

“Now we have to forget about this week and then next week we will just think about the World Championships,” Talita added. “We are going to go home, that way we can fully focus on the World Championships, it is the most important tournament for us this year.”

For Kessy and Ross the silver is their third set of medals from the Rome Grand Slam. They won gold at the 2010 edition and bronze in 2012. They too have success at the World Championships in their sights and are out to match their 2009 win. 

“April and I for years have known when to peak and we are on an upswing,” Kessy said. “For the whole year we’ve been getting better and better and better. 

“We are sad we didn’t win that game. I have about four side-outs from the third set in my mind that I could have done a lot better, but I am really happy with how we stuck together. Not many teams can come back like that.”

Bronze medal delight for Lili and Seixas

Liliane Maestrini and Barbara Seixas De Freitas won their first FIVB medals together since they claimed the 2007 U21 World Championships by winning the bronze with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) victory over Germany’s Britta Buthe and Karla Borger. 

They faced another pair who were aiming to win their first World Tour medals in Buthe and Borger and while they won the first set comfortably, the Germans led for most of the second until a time-out allowed the Brazilians to turn the momentum in their favour. 

“This is our reward for all our work,” Lili said. “We are happy to play together and we put in a lot of preparation. I can’t explain my emotion right now. I’m really, really happy because we played at our best here.

“They are a good team and they deserved to be here, like us. But we played out best again, so I think we deserved this win.”

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