Itapema, Brazil, May 20, 2018 – The last day of the $300,000 Itapema Open will be highlighted by a pair of matches reuniting Brazilian teams and European tandems which will determine the winners of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event in Brazil.
In the women’s final, Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa will play against Swiss Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré, while the men’s gold medal match will see a duel between Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola and Norwegian Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.
The women’s bronze medal match will put Brazil’s Maria Elisa Antonelli/Carol Solberg and Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson face-to-face. In the men’s tournament, either Brazil’s Guto Carvalhaes/Vitor Felipe or Poland’s Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor will finish in third place.
Agatha and Duda will try to win their second World Tour gold medal in Itapema. Their only victory to date was in the four-star event in Rio de Janeiro last year. The veteran Agatha, a silver medalist in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, counts on the support of the fans to prevail.
“They are a very good team,” Agatha said about the Swiss. “We won the last time we played them, but we had lost a few matches before that. We’ll prepare well and I’m confident that the support of the fans will push us to our second gold in Brazil.”
Agatha expects the home fans to be a force in the women's gold medal match
Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich, on the other hand, will be playing for their first title as a team. The duo has won four of their first five matches in Itapema in three sets and they plan on giving the final push in the gold medal match to finish the tournament on top.
“We’re really focused to win this tournament,” Vergé-Dépré said. “You don’t have the opportunity of winning a gold medal in the World Tour and we’ll leave everything we have on the court.”
This will be the fourth meeting between the teams and the Swiss won two of them, including the semifinals in the Hague in 2017, when the Europeans won their only medal together, the silver. In that tournament, they lost to Carol and Maria Antonelli in the only World Tour gold medal match reuniting women’s teams from Brazil and Switzerland to date.
Brazil vs. Norway in the men's final
Andre led Brazil's victory over Poland in the semifinals
In the men’s final, Evandro and Andre, who are yet to drop a set in the Itapema Open, will try to win their first World Tour gold medals together in Brazil.
“It’s good that we didn’t lose sets yet, but it means nothing in the final,” Evandro commented. “It shows that we are improving and playing well and we need to keep helping each other in the court.”
For the young Norwegians, the tournament has been a real test for their mental toughness as both in the semifinals and in the final they were faced with Brazilian teams and have to deal with the crowd that has been supporting the local duos over the week in Itapema.
“It will be a hard game and, again, a tough mental test because there will be a lot of people cheering for Brazil,” Mol added. “But we want to beat them, that’s for sure”.
Brazilians and Norwegians played each other just once, two weeks ago in the Huntington Beach Open, and the world champions won in three sets. Overall, teams from the two countries have played for World Tour gold medals ten times, with five victories for each side.
Sorum will play on his first World Tour final