Hamburg, Germany, August 18, 2018 - Topping the women’s pools at the Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone were Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy of Australia and Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil as both teams won matches here on Saturday mid-day to advance to the semifinals at the $800,000 event.
Being played for the second-straight season at Rothenbaum Stadium, the fourth-seeded Antonelli and Carolina were the first to advance on Saturday as the Brazilians won their third of four Pool A matches by posting a 2-0 (23-21, 21-17) win in 43 minutes over top-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany.
Brazilian Carolina Salgado celebrates a Hamburg win
“These matches are very demanding," said Antonelli after the match, "and we are exhausted because we gave everything we have. I’m very proud of what we did, but now a new tournament starts for us. We need to put everything that happened behind us, take the good things and prepare for more battles.”
Antonelli and Carolina tied for the Pool A crown with fifth-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canadian as both teams posted 3-1 records in group play. However, the Brazilians won the tie-breaker with a better point ratio of 1.0675 (174 points scored, 163 points allowed) as compared to the Canadians 1.0438 (167-160).
In Pool B, the seventh-seeded Artacho and Clancy defeated ninth-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-0 (21-15, 22-20) in 38 minutes to tie third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil for the group leadership as both teams finished with 3-1 records.
Artacho and Clancy, who defeated Agatha and Duda in group play, had the better point ratio to claim the group crown with a 1.1538 (180-156) as compared to the Brazilians’ 1.0279 ratio (184-179). Agatha and Duda completed group play on Saturday with a 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-13) win in 45 minutes over second-seeded Barbora Hermannova / Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic.
"We’re going to enjoy the moment today and recover and reset and get ready for another tough match tomorrow," said Artacho after the match. "It’s bloody amazing. We’ve had some really tough matches and to come out on top in this tournament where we play the best in the world, it’s such a special feeling."
While Antonelli/Carolina and Artacho/Clancy earned a bye into the semifinals, the other two final four berths will be decided later on Saturday with Agatha and Duda defeating Laboureur/Sude 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 15-9) in 47 minutes in the second quarterfinals at Rothenbaum Stadium.
Hermannova and Slukova gained the third spot in the semifinals as the Czech Republic pair posted a 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-7) win in 57 minutes over Bansley/Wilkerson, who had completed pool play on Friday and had Saturday morning off.
In Sunday’s morning semifinals, Antonelli/Carolina will meet Agatha and Duda for the second time on the FIVB World Tour while while Artacho/Clancy play Hermannova and Slukova for the third time internationally.
Agatha and Duda defeated Antonelli and Carolina earlier this year in a semifinal match on home sand in Itapema during a mid-May tournament in the south of Brazil. Hermannova and Slukova are 2-0 against the Australians, including a three-set pool play victory Thursday at Rothenbaum Stadium.
The Sunday afternoon gold medal matches concluded the fourth annual World Tour Finals where the winning teams will split $150,000, the largest gold medal purse in beach volleyball history.