Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 18, 2017 - The early returns are in and Beach Volleyball power Brazilian continued its winning ways here Thursday morning my winning six-straight women’s matches at the US$300,000 Rio Open on the grounds of the tennis stadium at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca.
With the six Main Draw victories in the “modified” pool play format, all six Brazilians pairs are assured of a spot in the elimination bracket as each duo will play later Thursday afternoon seeking a second-straight win to gain a “bye” in the first round in the 24-team knock-out phase of the competition.
The elimination rounds will highlight Friday and Saturday’s schedule with the medal matches being played Sunday. The winning teams in each gender’s competition with win the gold medals and the $20,000 first-place prizes.
Posting Brazilian victories Thursday were top seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (Pool A), fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa (Pool D), fifth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas (Pool E), ninth-seeded Elize Maia/Taiana Lima (Pool H), 14th-seeded Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini (Pool C) and 18th-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado (Pool B).
Juliana and Carolina are now 3-0 in the competition after winning a country quota match Tuesday, and qualifying match Wednesday and a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory in 37 minutes Thursday over Swiss Olympians Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre. The Brazilians will face a tougher challenge in the afternoon when Juliana and Carolina challenge Rio 2016 Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.
Carolina Salgado of Brazil
Seeded second in the competition, Ludwig and Walkenhorst opened play Thursday with a 2-0 (22-20 21-19) win over 31st-seeded qualifiers Alexandra Jupiter/Ophelie Lusson of France in 37 minutes. Ludwig is playing in her first international match since having right shoulder surgery in mid-December. Since the surgery, Ludwig played in a German domestic event two weeks ago for her first competitive competition since the operation.
Laura Ludwig of Germany
Other highlights from the first-round featured seed-break-through wins by the teams of 20th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany (Pool D), 21sth-seeded Anastasia Barsuk/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia (Pool E) and 23rd-seeded Marta Menegatti/Rebecca Perry of Italy (Pool G).
Diane Rebecca Perry of Italy