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Beach Volleyball: Italy’s Nicolai, Lupo double up in China

Paolo Nicolai (left) and Daniele Lupo won the Shanghai Grand Slam for their second success in two weeks in China. Photos: FIVB.

Paolo Nicolai (left) and Daniele Lupo won the Shanghai Grand Slam for their second straight success in China. Photos: FIVB.

May 3, 2014: Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy rallied past Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins 2-1 (24-26, 21-18, 15-12) on Saturday to win the US$800,000 Shanghai Grand Slam for their second World Tour title in as many tournaments.


It was the first Grand Slam title for the Italian duo, who were victorious at the previous week’s season-opening Fuzhou Open.


“It’s incredible. All the best teams are here and we won the first Grand Slam for Italy. I’m very proud of us, very proud of our staff and hopefully we will continue like this,” Nicolai said after clinching the match winner with an ace.


Having reaped their first two World Tour titles in Fuzhou and Shanghai and some more medals from previous events in China, Nicolai and Lupo are big fans of the country.


“We win medals here every time,” Nicolai said. “I don’t know what it is, but I like China and I hope to play more tournaments in China. For us, every time in China is our lucky tournament.”


It was the second come-from-behind victory in the day for Nicolai and Lupo, who rallied past Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Emanuel Rego 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 15-13) in their semi-final.


Having had a fantastic start to the new season, Nicolai and Lupo have vowed to win more titles on the World Tour.


“For sure we can improve, because we had a lot of mistakes today and there was a lot of wind, and we had some problems with our passing, but we are playing good,” he said. “Now we have the European Championships in Italy and other World Tour events, so we also want to catch gold there.”


In the bronze-medal match, Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany beat Pedro and Emanuel 2-1 (15-21, 21-19, 15-10).


Matysik said: “We had great groups and played very well in the beginning. Only in the semi and small final we were not so good, but in the end we stabilised and we had a really good finish.”


Erdmann added: “We want to make it step by step and get better and better. We want to have a lot of semis and hopefully a lot of medals, because we need to play really good on a high level and to practise with these perfect players for the Olympics.”


Source: FIVB

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