From the mountains to the beach

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Baku, June 20, AZERTAC 

Alpine neighbours Austria and Switzerland will battle for gold on the hot sands of Baku in the women's Beach Volleyball tournament after winning their respective semi-finals on Saturday.

Austria's Lena Maria Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhoffer were the first to book their place in the gold medal match when they overcame Lithuania's Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte in straight sets.

The Austrians dug deep to win two key points and take the first set 21-18. The Lithuanian pair's attempts to mount a comeback in the second set were then hindered when Dumbauskaite fell and was forced to take a medical timeout.

Although she returned to the court, the Austrians seized the moment, again taking the set 21-18 to advance to the final.

In the second semi, Switzerland's Nicole Eiholzer and Nina Betschart got off to a strong start against Italy's Laura Giombini and Giulia Toti and never looked back, winning the set 21-11.

The Italians rallied to take the lead for the first time in the second at 16-15 and had two set points at 20-18. The Swiss pair then won the next four points to take the set 22-20 and book a gold medal date with their Austrian neighbours.

"We know them, we train with them and they speak German so we understand them," said Betschart.

The final will begin at 22:00 on Saturday.

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