Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 21, 2017 - Led by teams of Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa, host Brazil is in position to take home the gold medals for men and women at the same FIVB World Tour event for the 58th-time here Sunday in the final matches at the US$300,000 Rio Open.
Being played at the tennis center located at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, the fourth-seeded Agatha and Duda are challenged by 11th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada in the women’s finale with the second-seeded Alison and Bruno playing Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in the men’s gold medal match.
The final two teams in each gender’s competition will be competing for the $20,000 first-place prizes with the silver medal finishes sharing $16,000. Prior to the gold medal matches, teams from Brazil and the Czech Republic will play for the women’s bronze medal while Italy and the United States meet in the men’s third-place match.
With the FIVB sanctioning Beach Volleyball events for men starting in 1987 and women in 1992, Brazilian pairs have dominated the international circuit. Only the United States (14 times), China (1) and Russia (1) have accomplish feat since the start of FIVB-sanctioned events for women in 1992.
The last gold medal sweep for Brazil at the same event was in the 2017 season-opening event in the United States were Alvaro Filho/Saymon Barbosa and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca won the men’s and women’s titles, respectively. Both teams finished fifth this week after losing in the quarter-finals Saturday.
Prior to this week’s event, a total of 42 men’s and 37 women’s FIVB World Tour events have been held in Brazil with duos from the South American country topping the podium at 25 of the men’s tournaments and 23 of the women’s stages. In Rio, Brazilian pairs have won seven of the 17 men’s gold medals and six of the 10 women’s title.
With the Rio, Open being the 358th men’s event sanctioned by the FIVB and 319th for women, Brazilian men have topped the podium 189 times with the Alison/Bruno partnership netting 11 gold medals. Brazilian women have collected 154 titles with Agatha and Duda vying for their first as a team.
In country vs. country gold medal competition, Brazil holds a 2-1 edge over Poland in men’s play and 2-0 advantage on the women’s side. In the last Brazil vs. Poland men’s gold medal match, Kantor and Losiak bested Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg for the 2016 Rio Grand Slam title on Copacabana.
Bartosz Losiak (right) of Poland hits against Evandro Goncalves of Brazil in the 2016 Rio Grand Slam gold medal match
Pavan teamed with Heather Bansley in the two Canadian women’s setback to Brazilian teams in FIVB World Tour gold medal with both defeating occurring in 2015 at stops in the Czech Republic (Prague to Agatha and Barbara Seixas) and Croatia (Porec to Talita and Larissa).
Agatha Bednarczuk of Brazil (left) hits against Canadian Sarah Pavan at the 2015 Prague Open
Overall, Polish men and Canadian women have collected two and three gold medals, respectively. Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel became the first men’s or women’s team from Poland to captured a FIVB World Tour at a 2014 in The Hague.
Jamie Broder/Kristina May became the first Canadian women's team to win a gold medal at a 2015 event in China (Fuzhou). Earlier this season Julie Gordon/Camille Saxton topped the podium for Canada in back-to-back March events in Australia (Shepparton and Sydney).
Following the Rio Open, the next stop on the FIVB World Tour will be May 31-June 4 in Moscow for a three-star event in the Russian capital. Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.