Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 12, 2017 – The $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major will also have an all-Brazilian gold medal match in the women’s tournament as Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa won their semifinal matches this Sunday morning at the 2017 international beach volleyball season opener.
On Saturday, the South American country also collected gold and silver in the men’s tournament after Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa defeated Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola in straight sets 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in the final.
Brazilian teams will clash in a FIVB World Tour gold medal match for the 58th time in history. While Larissa and Talita are looking forward to their 14th international victory, Agatha and Duda marched to the final in their first tournament together.
The No.2 seeded Larissa and Talita ended the winning streak of Americans Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross, the last undefeated team of the tournament, with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) semifinal win in the center court.
The Brazilians bounced back from an opening match loss against the Netherlands’ Jolien Sinemma and Joy Stubbe to win each of their next five matches in straight sets and make their way to the gold medal match. Larissa and Talita are the defending champions in Fort Lauderdale as they triumphed in the 2015 FIVB World Tour Finals at the same location.
“A lot happened since we won here back in 2015 and it’s good to be in the final again,” said the 34-year-old Talita. “The Americans did a great tournament, but I think we were really consistent and didn’t make many mistakes and that helped us to win. Now we’ll prepare for the gold medal match and do our best to win it again.”
Duda (left) and Agatha celebrate as they advanced to the gold medal match in their first international tournament
The No. 5 seeded Agatha and Duda needed three sets 2-1 (24-26, 21-18, 15-11) to overcome the Germans Julia Sude and Chantal Laboureur and reach their first international final as a team. On Saturday night, the Brazilians knocked out No.1 seeded Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross with a 2-1 win.
The two Brazilian teams also played for the gold medal in the first stop of the National Tour two weeks ago when Agatha and Duda defeated Larissa and Talita in three sets 2-1 (18-21, 22-20, 16-14) to top the podium in Joao Pessoa.
“There was so much drama again,” said a relieved Agatha. “We had a 14-11 lead on the third set against the Americans and we almost lost the game. I am glad we took advantage of the chance we had today. We defeated Talita and Larissa two weeks ago in Brazil and I am sure they will come blood-thirsty for this match. It is going to be amazing and the fans will enjoy it a lot”.