Unbeaten Lima/Talita storm into Xiamen Grand Slam semis
Xiamen, China, October 26, 2013 – World No. 1 Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes of Brazil posted a pair of elimination victories here on Saturday to storm into the women’s semifinals of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Grand Slam with an unbeaten record.
Two German tandems also booked their tickets in the women’s top four round with the other semifinal berth taken by April Ross/Kerri Walsh of the United States.
Lima/Talita swept Germany’s Isabel Schneider/Teresa Mersmann 2-0 (21-10, 21-13) before beating Emily Day/Summer Ross 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) for their fifth straight victory in Xiamen. In the second set of the quarterfinals, Lima/Talita trailed by a narrow margin most of the way before levelling it at 17-all. When it was tied at 19-all, Lima/Talita ran off two points in a row with a smart dink of Lima wrapping up the match in 34 minutes.
“I think they are a good team, the first set we played better. In the second set, they served btter than us and they had some blocks which was good for them, ” said Talita. “But we stayed calm all the time and we never give up and we were trying to do something different and positive.”
The second seeds now put their eyes on the gold medal of the last Grand Slam of the season. “Always we are looking for a gold medal, we’ll do our best for the gold medal, ” Talita added.
Lima/Talita will vie for a final berth with Germany’s sixth seeds Kartin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, who collected their fifth straight 2-0 victory in Xiamen in the quarterfinal match against Russia’s Maria Prokopeva/Evgenia Ukolova. Trailing 6-3 early in the second set, the German duo steadily pulled it back at 17-all before converting on their first match point to take the set and the match at 22-20.
“It was a close one, we started on the better side, but we didn’t use it. So we were behind for a long time in the second set,” said Holtwick. “It’s always difficult with the wind, you have to concentrate and don’t give up. It was a tough match, but in the end we came out with some good action and we’re happy to be in the semis tomorrow. ”
“We always won in straight sets, which was pretty good, because it saved some energe,” said Semmler. “It’s tough to play because the weather condition is difficult with the wind. We’ve got used to it. Sometime we played not beatiful, but quite well, and we are happy with our performance.”
Holtwick and Semmler were looking forward to beating the World No. 1 team from Brazil. “Next match will be a pretty tough one, but we didn’t beat them this year now, maybe it’s the time to beat them finally,” Semmler said.
“Of course the match against Lima/Talita will also be a tough one because they are No. 1 in the world, but we really want to fight,” Holtwick said. “It’s our last tournament of the season, so we can put all our energy in the last two games.”
Top seeded Chinese world champion Xue Chen and her new teenager partner Xia Xinyi crashed out of the tournament after losing to Kazakhstan’s 19th seeds Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12) in a second round elimination match Saturday morning.
“This is my first FIVB tournament and I think every match was good learning experience for me, ” said the 16-year-old Xia, who was making her international debut at the Xiamen Grand Slam.
“A new team like us has up and downs, it’s not surprising,” said Xue, who had paired with Zhang Xi to win the world championship in Poland in July. “But I am pretty sure we will play better and better as a team and I am looking forward to our cooperation in the next season.”
Later on Saturday, Mashkova/Tsimbalova lost in straight sets (21-13, 21-18) to the fifth seeds April Ross/Kerri Walsh of the United States, who kept alive the chance of repeating their title winning feat in Sao Paulo two weeks ago. In the other quarterfinal match, Germany’s fourth seeds Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, runners up to Ross/Walsh at the Sao Paulo Grand Slam, outlasted Brazil’s seventh seeds Agatha Bednarczuk/Maria Antonelli in three sets (21-16, 16-21, 16-14).
The double gender Xiamen Grand Slam is the last of a record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar with the women’s semifinal and final matches scheduled for Sunday.