Olsztyn, Poland, July 22, 2017 - Top-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil and third-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada won two matches each here Saturday at the $300,000 Warmia Mazury Olsztyn Open to advance to Sunday’s gold medal match.
With the FIVB World Tour returning to the Lake Ukiel venue for the third-straight season, Sunday’s finale will be the second meeting this season after Talita and Larissa defeated the Canadians in a two-set semifinal two weeks ago in the Swiss Alps of Gstaad.
Talita and Larissa posted wins over second-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in 34 minutes and fourth-seeded Brazilians rivals Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa 2-0 (21-19, 24-22) in a 39-minute semifinal match.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan Canada opened play Saturday with a 2-1 (21-15, 26-28, 15-10) win in 57 minutes over seventh-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland before posting a 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 16-14) semifinal win in 53 minutes over 24th-seeded qualifiers Nicole Branagh/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States.
The Canada-USA match was stopped at 14-14 in the third set when three-time Olympic and world champion Walsh Jennings suffered a right shoulder injury when diving for the ball. After a five-minute medical timeout, the match resumed with the Canadians scoring the final two points.
When asked after the match about playing in next week’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Walsh Jennings said “we’ll see. A lot depends on how I feel in the next few days.”
Walsh Jennings, who dislocated her right shoulder at the Moscow 2015 and Gstaad 2015 FIVB World Tour events, recovered from September surgery that year to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where she and April Ross defeated Talita and Larissa for the bronze medal on Copacabana.
Sunday’s finale will be the eighth FIVB World Tour women’s gold medal match between the two countries with Brazil holding a 6-1 advantage. The winning team will share the $20,000 first-place prize as Talita/Larissa will be seeking their 16th FIVB gold medal and the Canadians their second after winning the Porec Major at the start of July in Croatia.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes will be playing a Brazilian team for the second-time this season for an international gold medal after losing 2-1 (21-14, 13-21, 15-13) in 50 minutes to Agatha and Duda in mid-May at the Rio Open.