Larissa and Talita show golden form as Stare Jablonki gets underway
August 19, 2014 – Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes didn’t hang around as they reached the main draw of the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win over the Netherlands’ Laura Bloem and Marloes Wesselink on Tuesday.
The Brazilian pair are taking part in their fourth FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together since teaming up in July and they have already tasted success together with gold at the Klagenfurt Grand Slam.
They carried that form with them into a match that they won in 27 minutes.
“We had to be focused today as they were a good team and were confident after beating the Greek team this morning (Vasiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani),” Talita said.
“It is great to be playing with Larissa. She is a great player and we have done well so far, but we must always be focused in our matches as we were today.”
Both players are no strangers to success; Talita was one half of the 2013 World Tour winners alongside Taiana Lima, while Larissa was long term partner of Juliana Felisberta, with whom she won the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and seven World Tour titles.
However, Larissa took a break from beach volleyball following the London 2012 Olympic Games, when she and Juliana won bronze, but is now back and aiming to return to her previous heights.
“I’m happy to be back after one year away,” Larissa said. “It is tough and last time was excellent and I didn’t expect to be at that level so soon. But we know we must always be focused as there are so many good teams in the tournaments that we must be focused for to beat.”
Swedish success in Scandanavian clash
Swedish pair Camilla Nilsson and Tadva Yoken also advanced to the main draw, for the first time in their careers.
The recently crowned Swedish Tour winners beat Nordic rivals Janne Kongshavn and Victoria Faye Kjolberg 2-0 (21-9, 21- 14) and were one of eight teams to progress.
“It is our first main draw ever and it is in a Grand Slam, so we are so excited,” Yoken said. “We’ve seen and played together and had training camps together, so we know each other pretty well.
“We were pretty calm and very focused and we had served well and did well with the side outs. Plus we had a big lead throughout the match, so we were very calm.”
Nilsson and Yoken won the CEV Continental Cup tournament in Bournemouth, England in June and their increased confidence from their recent success shone through in their win.
The Swedish pair began the match as the 10th seeds in qualifying and so had to be at their best to overcome the Norwegian pair, who were seeded seventh.
“We hope to continue with the way we are playing right now,” Nilsson said. “We are really focused and feeling confident right now, but we will mix it up for the better teams and it is really exciting to know we will be playing them.
“It is always fun to play against the best in the world and we hope to win some games too.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stare Jablonki Grand Slam runs from Tuesday August 19 until Sunday August 24 when the men’s medal matches take place. It is the 13th event and the ninth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features 10 Grand Slams and nine Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Sao Paolo Grand Slam which runs from September 23-28.