Shanghai, China, May 9, 2010 - USA picked up the gold medal at the end of a week-long celebration of international Beach Volleyball on Sunday, with teams from Brazil winning the silver and bronze medals in the women’s competition at the $US380,000 Shanghai Open presented by City Beach.
In the international-televised Shanghai Open gold medal finale, the U.S's third-seeded April Ross and Jennifer Kessy came from behind to defeat Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca in three sets, 15-21, 21-16 and 15-12 in a 56-minute championship match
Ross and Kessy, who improved their record against Juliana and Larissa to 4-9 on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour, earned their first win against their Brazilian rivals since the Americans beat them last July 4th to capture the gold medal at the 2009 FIVB World Championship in Stavanger, Norway, 30-28 and 23-21.
Juliana and Larissa stormed to a 15-9 lead before picking up the first set 21-15 in the final. Ross and Kessy fought back in the second set and, after tying for the first five points, the Americans moved ahead 11-7 before then holding on to the end of the second set. The final set was reminiscent of last year’s extremely tight match at the SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Norway, with seven ties up to 10-10 when Ross and Kessy made some key serves work and pulled off some strong kills to take the score to 12-10. However Juliana closed it to 12-13 on a kill of her own, but the American's won the final two points for the title after a pair of Kessy blocks.
“Juliana and Larissa came out strong in the first set, but we kept our composure and didn’t really change anything other than just keep working hard and not be conservative,” said Kessy at the post match press conference. “We were playing a great team and we knew we had to just attack, attack and attack and it worked for us today. It’s a long season and I am sure we will play them many more times, but today was definitely our day. We were disappointed with our fourth place in Brazil so we were determined to work even harder at this tournament and not let up in our concentration. Our new offense seems to be working better and better each match we play and it will give us a lot of confidence heading to the next FIVB event in Rome know we are heading the right direction. Tonight we’re going to the World Expo in Shanghai.”
With their semifinal win, Juliana and Larissa became the fourth team in SWATCH FIVB World Tour history to post 400 match wins. The only female team with more is the retired Brazilian pair Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar who have an FIVB high 578 career international victories.
After the Shanghai stop, the 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar continues with a double gender event in Rome (May 17-23) for the season’s first Grand Slam event. Seoul (women) and Myslowice (men) host single-gender events from May 25-30. After a week break, Moscow hosts the second Grand Slam event on the 2010 SWATCH FIVB World Tour June 7-14.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images