Walsh and May Triumph Again On The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour

Aug. 4, 2003

Klagenfurt, Austria - America's Misty May and Kerri Walsh successfully defended their A1 Klagenfurt Grand Slam title on Saturday after crushing arch-rivals Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires Tavares of Brazil in another surprisingly one-sided final on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.

The 2002 World Tour champions collected their third title of the season, and their second in succession, with a 21-17, 21-12 victory, a result that mirrored their gold medal triumph in Marseille two weeks ago when they were also convincing winners over the Brazilians.

Third place went to Adriana Brandao Behar and Shelda Kelly Bruno, the Brazilian duo securing the bronze with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over Americans Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs earlier in the day.

'The scores were very similar today to our victory in Marseille, but I think then we were forcing them into making errors whereas today they struggled more, especially with their service,' said Walsh, who confirmed that her and May will take a break from the next three events on the World Tour before returning for the LA Grand Slam in September.

'They rely a lot on their service and they missed a lot of them today and that took the wind out of their sails. Also, Misty was so steady today, which is the sign of a great player. I can't wait until both teams meet in a final when we both play well.'

May agreed that the Brazilian service let them down in the final. 'They know against us that they have to serve really well,' said May, voted the Speedo Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The American pair reached the final after fighting back from a set down to beat Adriana and Shelda 15-21, 21-17, 15-8, while Ana Paula and Sandra Pires also came from behind in their 17-21, 21-16, 15-8 triumph over McPeak and Youngs.

A dejected Ana Paula had few complaints about the result and was gracious in defeat. 'If you don't serve well against them they're even harder to beat,' said Ana Paula. 'But they played very well. I'm just glad that people no longer think we're unbeatable. I was growing tired of that.'

The SWATCH Fastest Service Award went to Sandra Pires after the Brazilian was timed at 78.4 km/h.For Adriana and Shelda, it was their fifth bronze of the 2003 World Tour and despite again failing to reach the final were relatively happy with their season so far.

'As I've said many times recently, we're playing well and we're quite relaxed but we're still making too many errors in our side outs,' said Adriana, a five-times winner of the World Tour ranking title.

'We need to click more and not give away too many points like we did in the second set today. But five bronzes and a silver is not too bad for this year.'

The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour moves on to Asia next week for three events starting with the Japan Open in Osaka.

courtesy of FIVB

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