2017-08-02 19:20:00 CET
They’ll be no Agatha or Barbara in the final this year…
Both reigning women’s champions are out of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 following dramatic defeats on day six of the tournament.
Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas were celebrating the title together two years ago in the Netherlands but in Vienna, playing with different partners, they were dumped out of the competition at the last 32 stage.
In-form Canadian pair Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes were the team responsible for sending Barbara and her partner Fernanda Berti Alves tumbling out of the tournament. The North Americans, who won the Poreč Major last month, were in unstoppable form, winning 21-16, 21-10 in just 37 minutes on the Red Bull Beach Arena.
And the women’s trophy will be going to a different team this year following Agatha’s defeat on side court 2. Much was expected of Agatha and new teammate Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa following a string of impressive performances this season, however they were beaten in three thrilling sets by the Czech Republic’s Marketa Sluková and Barbora Hermannová. The Europeans, who claimed silver behind Pavan and Humana-Paredes in Poreč, took the first set. Agatha and Duda rallied to edge the second set, but the Czechs underlined their promise by winning the final set to take the game 21-16, 19-21, 16-14.
“We didn’t expect such a hard draw for the first round,” said a victorious Hermannová. “We were thinking if Agatha and Duda finished third in the group there must be something going on. We went through all stages; we were angry and saying it was so unfair, then a little bit sad. But then we realized it’s just another game and we have to fight against them.
“We want to be on the top of the world so it doesn’t matter if we want to win against them in the first round or the semifinals. We just want to win against all teams. There are many strong teams in the main draw, we can count about 15 teams who we could guess could win this tournament.”
Elsewhere, two teams with aspirations of taking the title booked their spots in the last 16 with impressive displays on the sand.
Olympic 2016 champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst need 40 minutes in front of the Red Bull Beach Arena crowd to beat China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue 21-19, 21-14, while the number one teams in the world rankings, Brazilians Larissa Maestrini and Talita Antunes, also recorded a straight sets victory to advance further to the title. The South Americans saw off Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Maria Zonta in just half-an-hour, winning 21-12, 21-14.
Meanwhile, the final matches in the men’s pool play came to a close on Wednesday as the teams battled for a place in the elimination rounds, which kick-off on Thursday.
Reigning champions and last year’s Olympic gold medalists, Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, face Latvia’s Rinhards Finsters and Edgars Tocs eyeing a place in the last 16.
One of the most intriguing matches in the first round of knockout games features Americans Casey Patterson and Theo Brunner against home favorites Clemens Doppler and Alex Horst on the Red Bull Beach Arena sand at 5.30pm CET.
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