Vienna, Austria, August 4, 2018 - Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova secured their second Beach Major Series gold medal here Saturday as the Czech Republic pair defeated a team from Brazil to top the women’s podium at the $600,000 A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch.
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Seeded seventh in the 32-team Main Draw, Hermannova and Slukova secured the $40,000 first-place prize by posting a 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 15-12) gold medal victory in 52 minutes over fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas of Brazil, who split $32,000 for placing second.
“We really wanted it, so it feels amazing now,” said the 27-year old Hermannova. “Maki (Slukova) had a fantastic tournament. She had intense pain in her shoulder and we didn’t even know if we would be able to play this tournament. But in the court, she was just hitting bombs, digging the ball everywhere and I’m very proud of what she did and how she managed to keep her condition unapparent.”
As for 30-year old Slukova, she said: “It’s definitely the biggest victory of our careers. It’s so amazing to play in front of such a country and bring the gold medal home, especially after how the game started. We started so badly. We couldn’t find each other in setting and really didn’t have counter attacks. We thought we were really embarrassing ourselves and this wasn’t the way we wanted to end the tournament. We had our problems, but we really stuck together and that’s what I’m most proud of."
Hermannova and Slukova now lead the series between the two teams at 3-1 with their first two victories over Fernanda and Barbara at Brazilian FIVB stops in Rio de Janeiro in 2017 and at Itapema in 2018. Fernanda and Barbara defeated the Czech Republic pair earlier this season in the United States at the Fort Lauderdale Major where the Brazilians topped the podium.
In winning their third FIVB gold medal together, Hermannova and Slukova have won two international beach volleyball titles this season with a podium-topping performance in mid-June on home sand in Ostrava. The Czech Republic tandem secured their first gold medal in October 2015 at Antalya, Turkey at the start of their partnership.
With the Vienna Major being the 371st women’s World Tour event since the start of FIVB-sanctioned tournaments in August 1992, the Czech Republic has now won six women’s gold medals with Slukova being a part of five title wins as she won twice with her London 2012 Olympic partner Kristyna Kolocova.
The match was the second women’s FIVB gold medal meeting between the two countries with the Czech Republic winning both matches as the European country defeated the South Americans in 2014 at Berlin when Slukova and Kolocova defeated Brazilians Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 15-12) in a 53-minute finale on June 22.
To reach the Vienna Major finale, Hermannova and Slukova posted a 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) win in 44 minutes over 10th-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil with Fernanda and Barbara defeating the reigning European champions and 16th-seeded Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-17, 23-21) in a 50-minute semifinal match.
In the bronze medal match, Keizer and Meppelink defeated Antonelli and Carolina 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in 43 minutes. The win secured the Dutch the $20,000 third-place prize while Antonelli and Carolina split $16,000 for finishing fourth.
The Vienna Major concludes on Sunday with the men’s semifinal and medal matches. The fourth and final Beach Major Series event this season will be in Germany from August 14-19 as Hamburg hosts the $800,000 Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals for the second-straight season. The top eight teams plus two wild cards per gender will compete in Hamburg where the FIVB will stage the 2019 World Championships.