Olsztyn, Poland, July 23, 2017 - Due to a right shoulder injury suffered by Kerri Walsh Jennings, Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil claimed the Warmia Mazury Olsztyn Open bronze medal here Sunday via an injury forfeit over the three-time Olympic and world champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and her American partner Nicole Branagh.
With the forfeit victory, the fourth-seeded Agatha and Duda split the US$10,000 third-place prize while 24th-seeded Walsh-Jennings and Branagh shared $8,000 for their best FIVB World Tour finish in three events this season. The Americans had to win a country quota and qualifying match Wednesday to advance to the Main Draw.
The potential bronze medal match was set up when Agatha and Duda dropped a 2-0 (21-19, 24-22) semi-final match in 39 minutes to top-seeded Brazilian rivals Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca while third-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada posted a 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 16-14) win in 53 minutes over Walsh Jennings and Branagh.
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 Mikasa Beach Volleyball. After a five-minute “medical timeout”, the match resumed with the Canadians scoring the final two points.
When signing the scoresheet for the bronze medal match, Walsh Jennings told an FIVB official that she and Branagh will be playing in this coming week’s FIVB World Championships in Vienna, Walsh Jennings, who dislocated her right shoulder twice during the 2015 FIVB World Tour season in Moscow and the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad, recovered from her fifth shoulder surgery to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where she and April Ross defeated Talita and Larissa for the bronze medal on Copacabana.
With Warmia Mazury Olsztyn Open being a “preview” event for 2017 FIVB World Championships, all four pairs in the “final four” have qualified for the $1-million event where play begins next Friday in the Austria capital of Vienna and concludes August 5 for women and August 6 for men.
With the FIVB World Tour returning to the Crooked Lake (Lake Ukiel or Krzywe Lake) venue for the third-straight season, Sunday’s finale will be the second meeting this season between the two teams after Talita and Larissa defeated the Canadians in a two-set semi-final two weeks ago in the Swiss Alps of Gstaad.
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.