Warsaw, Poland, June 30, 2018 – Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson and Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude will face each other in Sunday’s women’s final of the Warsaw four-star event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. In the men’s gold medal match, Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Felipe and Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior will challenge home favourites Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak.
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Fourth-seeded Bansley and Wilkerson started their day with a 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-8) quarterfinal victory over Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova, thus taking revenge for the defeat they suffered in the hands of the Czech team in the Ostrava final last week. In the semifinals, the Canadians were simply unstoppable and hammered out a 33-minute 2-0 (21-17, 21-12) win over USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes.
“We had the Czechs this morning, which was a rematch from final last week, so we knew it was going to be a really hard match. They played well and at the end of the third set it came down to our defence. We made a couple of adjustments, based on what they were doing and it paid off for us. The USA team were having a great tournament, so we expected a really tough match against them. Again, I think it was defence that made the difference and gave us the edge. It’s definitely time for gold!” Heather Bansley commented.
Laboureur and Sude scored a couple of big wins against strong Brazilian opponents on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s gold medal match. In the quarterfinals, the 10th-seeded Germans mastered a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) victory over second-seeded Barbara Seixas De Freitas and Fernanda Alves and followed up with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) victory over sixth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda.
“It is amazing! The conditions were not so easy,” Laboureur said. “It was the first time that we beat Barbara and Fernanda ever and the first time that we beat Agatha and Duda ever, so we are very happy at the moment.”
“Yes, we are really happy. Our soccer team lost, so we thought, maybe in one sport we can continue,” joked Sude. “We haven’t played the Canadians this year so far. We’ll prepare well, we’ll sleep well and for sure we will have some surprise stuff tomorrow.”
With Saturday’s men’s action starting from the second elimination round, the surviving teams had to play three matches in one day. Third-seeded Vitor Felipe and Evandro started with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) shutout of Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sorum. After a tough first set and a speedy second set, the Brazilians knocked out fifth-seeded compatriots Alison Cerutti and Andre Loyola Stein with a 2-0 (24-22, 21-12) quarterfinal win. In the semis, Vitor Felipe and Evandro managed one more straight-set victory – 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) over Latvian standouts Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs.
The road for the other finalists, top-seeded Kantor and Losiak, proved much bumpier, as the Poles had to persevere through three three-setters on Saturday to make it to the gold medal match. After a tough battle with Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko, they opened the day with a 2-1 (22-20, 17-21, 16-14) victory. In the quarterfinals, it was Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner that gave Kantor and Losiak a lot of hard time, but, inspired by the home crowd on the stands, the Poles came back from a set down to progress to the semis with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-11) win. In the semifinal against fourth-seeded Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, the two teams exchanged the first two sets, but the tie-breaker the home team rode the momentum to a 2-1 (21-17,17-21, 15-12) success.
“For sure it is a great feeling to play in the final, especially at home. That’s great for us,” Losiak said after the semifinal match. “It was a really hard day, because we played three games with tie-breaks. We won all three, so now we have to rest and focus on the final. For sure, the many fans cheering for us in the crowd help us, so see you tomorrow on centre court in Warsaw!”