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Juliana and Larissa fight back to win bronze
London, Great Britain, August 8, 2012 – FIVB world champions Juliana and Larissa staged a second-set comeback to beat China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi 11-21, 21-19, 15-12 in the London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal match on Wednesday.
“I am so proud of our team,” Juliana said. “At the beginning of the match we didn’t play well and I didn’t know how we did it in the second set. The tie-break at the end, though I hate them, went well. This medal, though it isn’t gold, feels like gold.”
China were fastest into their stride and the Brazilians had no answer to Zhang Xi’s left-handed hitting as they sought a second-consecutive Olympic bronze medal. Juliana and Larissa were also unable to match the fluidity of the Chinese, who won the set when Xue hit a spike that Larissa was unable to defend.
In the second Larissa and Juliana came out with renewed focus, but as the set went on the Chinese gradually took control and built a two-point lead. However, Zhang Xi and Xue couldn’t close out the win and two points from Juliana won them the set and sent her running towards the Downing Street End of Horse Guard’s Parade in celebration.
Juliana and Larissa were visibly reinvigorated by drawing level on the scoreboard and they quickly racked up six points, with two against in the third set. Despite a time-out the Chinese had no riposte to their play and while Zhang Xi saved one matchball, they held their nerve with the second to win the bronze.
“It’s not important to start well, it is important to finish well,” Juliana said. “You want it so bad and I am so proud to have played at the Olympic Games. Last night I said we have to stick together because we had to win the bronze medal.”