The duo seeking its fourth-straight medal prevailed in the US$150,000 FIVB World Tour event as fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil posted a 2-1 (16-21, 21-13, 15-11) win in 47 minutes over 10th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada.
Four weeks earlier in Brazil, the two teams met for a FIVB World Tour gold medal at the Rio Open with Agatha and Duda posting a 2-1 (21-14, 13-21, 15-13) win over the Canadians in 50 minutes. The Rio win was the second of four international medals for the Brazilians after placing second at the season-opening event in the United States with other the decoration two weeks ago in Russia with a bronze medal finish in Moscow.
"We change some little things in the second set," said Agatha, who captured the gold medal at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague with Barbara Seixas. "We served down the line, and more on Sarah and came out with a bit more power. That worked perfect for us. In the tiebreak is was back and forth, but my partner made the difference in the end."
With the victory, Agatha and Duda improved their leadership as the No. 1-ranked team on the 2017 FIVB World Tour standings as the first-season partnership entered this week’s stop tied with compatriots Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca for the top spot on the international list. With Talita and Larissa placing fifth this week, Agatha and Duda’s third-place finish earned them a 120-point lead (2,480 to 2,360) lead over their Brazilian rivals.
In assuming the top ranking on the 2017 FIVB World Tour, the 33-year old Agatha said "I can't believe we are the number one in the ranking now with this win. It is so special. This is the first time for my 18-year old partner, this is crazy, we are only together for 6 months. We need to celebrate, go shopping, to the beach, have a rest, because this is a very special moment."
With the final two teams competing for the $10,000 first-place prize in the Dela Beach Open, Agatha and Duda split $5,000 for placing third while the Canadians shared $4,000. The women’s final features a match between 15th-seeded qualifiers Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazilians against 17th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland.
To reach the Dela Beach Open gold medal match, Heidrich and Verge-Depre defeated Agatha and Duda 2-1 (24-26, 21-17, 18-16) in a 62-minute semi-final match while Antonelli and Carolina were a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) winner over Humana-Paredes and Pavan in 39 minutes.
Bumping Mikasa in the Dela Beach Open Sunday is Sarah Pavan of Canada
Being played at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark, a newly-constructed multifunctional sports and education center, the Dela Beach Open was the first-ever FIVB World Tour event to stage competition on both indoor and outdoor courts at the same time. In addition, international Beach Volleyball competition was being held in conjunction with FIVB World League contests where The Netherlands was hosting the Czech Republic, Korea and the Slovak Republic this weekend at the 3,000-seat venue which is also the new training center for the Dutch federation's Beach Volleyball program.
Following the Dela Beach Open, the international circuit takes a week off before resuming play with SWATCH Major Series stops in Croatia (Porec, June 27-July 2) and Switzerland (Gstaad, July 4-9). 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 Vienna and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.