Sochi, Russia, September 12, 2015 – Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré reached their first ever World Tour final at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Sochi Open on Saturday. The third seeded Swiss girls defeated Finland’s Riikka Lehtonen and Taru Lahti 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in the semifinal.
The Swiss team will play Marta Menegatti and Viki Orsi Toth for the gold on Sunday. The second seeded Italians prevented an all-Swiss final by defeating fifth seeded Nadine Zumkehr and Joana Heidrich 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) in the other semi.
Forrer and Vergé-Dépré were very much in control throughout the whole match against the sixth seeded Finnish, who like the Swiss girls also experienced their first semifinal on the World Tour.
Switzerland started off with 4-0 in the first set and built that lead to 20-14, to take the set at their third set point. In the second set it was more point-by-point with Lehtonen and Lahti even taking a small lead in the middle of the set. But the Swiss stayed calm, took control again and Vergé-Dépré claimed victory at their first match point with a kill block.
Although she was thrilled to reach her first World Tour final the 33-year old Forrer put things into perspective. “We have to be honest, the top teams are missing. We knew if we could keep our game up and stayed in our rhythm, even when we are two or three points behind, we could still win and we needed to stay patient and calm and we have been doing that for the last week.”
The 23-year old Vergé-Dépré admitted she got a bit nervous in the second set. “We struggled a little in the beginning until the middle of the set and then we told each other to refocus again on our tactic.”
In the final they are hoping for sweet revenge against Italy, who lead the series against them 3-2. Vergé-Dépré: “Last time we played Menegatti and Orsi Toth we lost to them, in Gstaad, 15-13 in the final set.”Third final for Menegatti and Orsi Toth
The Italians started off well in their semifinal against Zumkehr and Heidrich, taking a 16-10 lead in the first set, but 30-year old Zumkehr served the Swiss back into the game: 16-15. That was as far as the Italians would let them come, pushing a bit more towards the end to claim the set with 21-18.
In the second set the Swiss, who reached the semis with five straight wins, took the lead for the first time at 4-5. But Menegatti and Orsi Toth took over again from 12-12, creating a four-point gap towards the end. On their second match point Menegatti finished the game with a hard spike down the line.
“It feels great to be in another final”, Menegatti said. “It was a tough match, but we stayed calm when we were behind in the second set and our service made the difference in the end.”
The circumstances were tough in the Sport Inn stadium. Especially in the second set there were long rallies, very fatiguing with temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius.
“It was very hot”, Orsi Toth said. “But it doesn’t matter if it rains or the sun shines, we like to play in Russia. It’s our third final four in four tournaments here. We love Russia, we have always been very successful here.”
On Sunday the Italian girls will claim their third medal, either gold or silver, after the silver in Sao Paolo in 2014 and the bronze medal this year in Moscow.