Gstaad, Switzerland, With two Brazilian women’s Beach Volleyball pairs on a SWATCH FIVB World Tour podium for the fifth-time this season, Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli captured their third international gold medal by winning a pair of matches here Sunday in the US$600,000 1to1energy Grand Slam.
Seeded second in the 32-team Main Draw, Talita and Antonelli scored a 21-17, 16-21 and 15-12 win in 58 minutes over third-seeded Brazilian rivals Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca to share the $43,500 first-place prize for the 10th annual 1to1energy Grand Slam, the first of four-straight “major” stops on the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour following last week’s world championships in Norway.
Saturday’s gold medal win also snapped a personal five-game losing streak to their Brazilian rivals as Talita and Antonelli had dropped three SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches to Juliana and Larissa, who had defeated their compatriots twice on their country’s domestic circuit. For the silver medal, Juliana and Larissa shared $29,500 as the pair was also seeking their third international title this season after defeating Talita and Antonelli for the gold medal at May’s stop in Japan.
“We are glad that we could finally defeat Juliana and Larissa, especially to win a grand slam title”, said the 26-year old Talita, who placed fourth at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with Renata Ribeiro. “All of our matches have been very competitive and today’s match was no different. To defeat them, you have to eliminate mistakes and have a strong side out game.”
Antonelli, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the 1to1energy Grand Slam, and Taliti also won their first-ever SWATCH FIVB World Tour Grand Slam gold medals. Antonelli won her first FIVB “open” event in 2008 with Vanilda Leão. Talita had won five previous “open” crowns with Renata.
Both teams had to win semi-final matches earlier Saturday with Talita and Antonelli scoring a 21-18 and 21-14 semi-final win in 45 minutes over fourth-seeded Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs of the United States. Juliana and Larissa advanced to 39th SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match with a 21-19 and 21-16 victory in 43 minutes over 13th-seeded Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands.
With the 1to1energy Grand Slam being the 192nd women’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour event (open, Grand Slam, Olympic and Goodwill Games), Brazil has now won 97 international gold medals with Juliana and Larissa winning 23 tournament titles. Saturday’s final marked the 39th-time that two teams from the South American country have competed in a gold medal match against each other.
In the bronze medal match, Branagh and Youngs rebounded from their semi-final defeat to score a 21-14 and 21-17 win in 39 minutes over Keizer and Van Iersel. The Americans split $23,000 for third-place while the Keizer and Van Iersel, who became the first European women’s team to compete in a 1to1energy Grand Slam “final four” shared $18,400.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images