Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 11, 2017 – Playing their first tournament as a team, Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and 18-year-old Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa were responsible for the biggest upset of the women’s tournament of the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major so far as they defeated USA stars Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross in the quarterfinals of the 2017 international beach volleyball season opener this Saturday.
Agatha, who beat Walsh and Ross in Rio Olympics semifinals pairing Barbara Seixas before winning the silver medal, and Duda, a Youth Olympic champion in 2014, handled the pressure on the packed centre court in the last match of the day and posted a 2-1 (16-21, 21-15, 20-18) win over the Americans to jump into the final four in Florida.
For Duda, a three-time U-19 world champion, it was the first win over the 38-year-old Walsh Jennings after three losses in the 2016 season when she teamed Elize Maia.
“It was a dream,” said a smiling Duda. “I grew up watching Kerri playing and achieving everything she did, so this is huge for me. I truly admire her and I feel nervous and excited every time I enter the court to play against her. I think this is never going to change. We are a new team so we need to play together and that is what led us to win tonight.”
No.5 seeded Agatha and Duda will meet Germany’s No.3 seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude while No.13 seeded USA’s Summer Ross/Broke Sweat will go up against No.2 seeded Brazil’s Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes in the Sunday morning semifinals. The bronze and gold medal matches will close the beach volleyball week in Florida in the early afternoon.
USA's Summer Ross and her partner Brooke Sweat are the only undefeated team in Fort Lauderdale
The only tandem still undefeated in the tournament, Sweat and Ross overcame one of the most surprising teams of the Fort Lauderdale Major, Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova, in the quarterfinals. Pushed by the fans, the American needed only two sets (21-13, 21-14) to get past the European and book their tickets to meet Larissa and Talita on Sunday.
“We are playing really well right now,” said Sweat. “We are just having fun and not really thinking about it. We know what we have to do and are just going out there and doing it. USA against Brazil is always really intense. We are looking forward to it. They are obviously a great team, so we have to play better and better.”