Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2017 - For the 225th-time in 320 FIVB World Tour since the start of internationally-sanctioned events for women in 1992, Brazil is guaranteed a team in the gold medal match after pairs from the South American country won matches in the lower half of the bracket here Saturday afternoon in the US$150,000 Beach Volleyball event.
Being played at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, the Brazilian teams of top-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa posted quarter-final wins to advance to the Moscow semi-finals along with 11th-seeded Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States and 19th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany.
Participants in the last two Moscow gold medal matches with a podium-topping performance in 2015, Talita and Larissa gained their 20th FIVB “final four” berth in 30 World Tour starts together by posting a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win in 32 minutes over 12th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia. It was the sixth-straight win for Talita and Larissa over the Australians, including a victory two weeks ago at the Rio Open.
Larissa Franca (left) and Talita Antunes of Brazil during their match win Saturday over Australia
Agatha and Duda advanced to their third-straight “final four” in three FIVB starts together with a 2-1 (15-21, 21-17 15-8) win in 43 minutes over third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany. It was the second three-set win for the Brazilians over Laboureur and Sude after defeating the Germans in a semi-final match this past February in the United States at the SWATCH Major Series stop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The two Brazilian teams will be meeting for the second-time this season as Talita and Larissa posted a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) February 12th gold medal win in 38 minutes over Agatha and Duda at the Fort Lauderdale Major. It was Talita and Larissa’s 14th FIVB title together since forming their partnership in July 2014 as the pair has now amassed 160 wins in 181 matches (88.4 percent).
Agatha, who claimed the gold medal at the 2015 FIVB World Championships and the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Barbara Seixas, and Duda will be seeking their second-straight international gold medal after winning the last stop on the world-wide circuit two weeks ago in Rio de Janeiro.
Competing in the upper half of the 24-team elimination bracket, the 19th-seeded Bieneck/Schneider eliminated 15th-seeded qualifiers Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) in 36 minutes before the 11th-seeded Summer/Sweat ousted 20th-seeded qualifiers Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 15-12) in 43 minutes.
The quarter-final wins by Bieneck/Schneider and Summer/Sweat marked the second-time this season that the German and American pairs had netted semi-final berths. In the season-opening FIVB World Tour stop in the United States, Summer/Sweat placed fourth at the Fort Lauderdale Major. Two months later in China, Bieneck/Schneider claimed a bronze medal at the Xiamen Open.
With the FIVB Russian capital event also featuring men’s play, Saturday’s schedule will conclude with the semi-final matches to set the lineup for Sunday's medal matches. The winning duos in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes.
Following the Moscow stop, the FIVB World Tour takes a week off before resuming play June 15-18 for a “three-star” $150,000 event in The Netherlands at The Hague. 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, Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany. Overall, there are 15 men’s and 19 women’s events on the $5.335-million FIVB World Tour schedule.