Huntington Beach, USA, May 6, 2018 - For the 60th-time in the history of the women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, two teams from Brazil will compete for an international gold medal as the pairs of Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas and Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado won semifinal matches here on Sunday morning at the $300,000 Huntington Beach Open.
Fifth-seeded Fernanda and Barbara advanced to their third FIVB gold medal match in 12 World Tour starts together with a 2-1 (21-16, 12-21, 15-12) semifinal win in 51 minutes over second-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada. It was the Brazilians' first win in three matches with Humana-Paredes and Pavan, who won an FIVB event last month in Xiamen, China.
Sixth-seeded Antonelli and Carolina will also be playing in their third World Tour finals as the Brazilians posted a 2-1 (21-15, 21-23, 15-12) final four victory in 58 minutes over third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany. It was the Brazilians' second win over Laboureur and Sude in Huntington with the first on Friday in the fourth-round of the winner’s bracket.
“In the first set we kept the difference like four points, so we played the whole set in front, so it wasn’t really stressful,” said Carolina after the match with the Germans. “In the second they started to play much better, they were serving much harder and the third set was more emotion. Point by point, everything was close. I think my block made the difference, Maria made great side out. The whole tiebreak they served only to her and she was so strong on the side out. We tried to serve hard. They are an amazing team and it’s always a very hard match.”
As for playing Fernanda and Barbara in the finals, Carolina said: “We play a lot against each other, we know each other very well. Barbara and Fernanda are coming from very good results, they are playing well, and we know it’s going to be a hard match. We just want to do our best, we want to win of course, and play the way we play.
Antonelli said: “Carolina made very good blocks, it was very important. I couldn’t put the ball in the sand sometimes and after this she made a block, so it was a difference helping me to relax.”
Sude said: “The first set we were checking what’s going on a little bit to see the conditions. They played very well and then we came back and said we don’t want to lose like this, so we were fighting a lot and trying to be aggressive. We won through fighting in the second and in the third we were quite equal, but we lost too many chances. We had three or four balls in our hands and we were a little bit blind looking for the block and it was a different game.”
On the Canadians for the bronze medal, Sude said: “They had good results in their first tournaments, they won the Commonwealth Games, they won Xiamen, so let’s see what they have prepared for us. I think we are quite confident to play against them.”
Laboureur said: “In the second we thought a little bit about our strategy and we changed our strategy a little bit. We told each other to be patient and then the chances came with the big block from Julia at the end. We were holding our horses and waiting for our chances.”
The women’s finale will be played at 4 p.m. (local time) as the two Brazilian teams will be meeting for the first time ever on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The two teams did split four matches on the Brazilian domestic tour.