02.08.2019 - Vienna, Austria
Brazil is in position to dominate the women’s podium of a Beach Major Series event for the second-straight time as the South American nation has secured the first two semi-finals spots of the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch with Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima and Carol Salgado/Maria Elisa Antonelli and is guaranteed in the gold medal match at the Danube Island.
Carol and Maria Antonelli, who claimed silver at the Gstaad Major a few weeks ago, are set to return to the semi-finals in Vienna following a fourth-place finish at last year’s edition after they downed Americans Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman 21-19, 12-21, 15-11 in the quarterfinals.
“It’s great to be back in the semi-finals here in Vienna,” Antonelli said. “We’ve been playing well since the start of the tournament and we’re really helping each other in the bad moments, what makes a lot of difference. I’m very happy to play another Brazilian team, it’s great for our country to be in the final of a Major.”
Talita has also been in the semi-finals in Vienna before as her and former partner Larissa Franca won bronze at the 2017 World Championships at the Danube Island. By eliminating reigning Vienna Major champions Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannová of the Czech Republic with a 21-16, 21-16 quarterfinal win alongside Taiana, the 36-year-old veteran secured her return to the semi-finals of a World Tour event for the first time since she resumed her career after giving birth to her first son, Renato, in June 2018.
“Returning wasn’t easy and I knew it would be this way,” she explained. “Everything seems very different to me now, but we were very patient with the process. We felt we were getting better at each tournament and that in the last ones we lost to some great times due to very little details. I think that now we turned that corner and really figured out how to handle these key moments.”
Since Talita returned to the sands the teams have met six times, four in the Brazilian National Tour and two in the World Tour, and Taiana and her won four of them, including both international match-ups in Xiamen and Espinho.
“It’s going to be another tough one for us,” Taiana reflected. “We all know each other pretty well and at this point there’s nothing really one team can do that will surprise the other. So it’s really about taking good care of those details and making the right plays in the big moments.”
Both teams took the long route to the semi-finals as they have started playing in Vienna on Tuesday’s qualifier and have won each six matches already in the Austrian capital this week.
“I think that the qualifier can be a blessing in disguise at times,” Antonelli added. “I feel that every time we play in a qualifier we start the tournament one step ahead of all other teams just because we’re better adjusted to the conditions. Of course those extra matches can be tough on your body, but we had a day off here on Thursday, so we feel great and ready for more.”