Agatha & Duda regain winning ways at Fort Lauderdale Major


Brazilian Olympic silver medal winner Agatha Bednarczuk celebrates a point in her team's second win Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale Major

Fort Lauderdale, USA, March 1, 2018 - After being upset here Wednesday during opening Main Draw play in the US$600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major, Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa rebounded with a pair of wins over teams from Switzerland and Germany to advance to Friday’s second-round of elimination in the FIVB World Tour event.

With the international beach volleyball circuit returning to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park for the third time in four seasons, the 10th-seeded Agatha and Duda will play top-seeded Nicole Branagh and Lauren Fendrick of the United States with the winner advancing to the evening quarterfinals.

Silver medal winners at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major and facing elimination Thursday, Agatha and Duda opened play in the morning by posting a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) win in 34 minutes over seventh-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland to advance as the third-place team from Pool G.

Victims of 23nd-seeded Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger of Germany in their only match Wednesday, Agatha and Duda gained revenge with the European country by ousting third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) in 32 minutes. Agatha and Duda are now 3-0 against Laboureur/Sude with their first win over the Germans being in the semifinals at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major.

"We studied a lot about this team, and we know how dangerous this team is," said Agatha about their third FIVB meeting with Laboureur and Sude.  "The girls are very fast so it's difficult to defend. So we studied how we can serve the best against them  We didn’t have much of an offseason this year. Our Brazilian Tour went until November, and then in January was the first FIVB event. We need to have a good mind this year, to rest and to stay healthy.”

Other teams winning first round matches in the elimination bracket on Thursday were 15th-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada, 16th-seeded Fan Wang/Xinyi Xia of China, 20th-seeded Carolina Horta/Taiana Lima of Brazil, 24th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany, 27th-seeded Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia and 31st-seeded Jamie Broder/Taylor Pischke of Canada.

The last match on Thursday where the winning team advanced to Friday’s schedule had13th-seeded Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States upseting fifth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil 2-1 (21-16, 15-21, 15-8) in 42 minutes.

Earlier Thursday, Antonelli and Carolina eliminated 12th-seeded Alix Klineman/April Ross of the United States 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in 37 minutes.  It was a rematch of an FIVB World Tour gold match in early January in The Hague where Klineman and Ross defeated the Brazilians for the title.

The women’s competition at the Fort Lauderdale Major concludes Saturday with the semifinal and medal matches on the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park center court. The men’s podium placement matches will be played on Sunday. The winning teams will share the $40,000 first-place prizes.