Brazil, Switzerland & Norway fight for gold medals in Itapema

 

Brazil's Andre Loyola celebrates a point in the semifinal against Poland

Itapema, Brazil, May 19, 2018 – Both Sunday’s gold medal matches of the $300,000 Itapema Open will feature a home team meeting an European tandem as Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola will face Norway’s Christian Sorum/Anders Mol in men’s final while Brazilians Agatha Bednarcuzk/Duda Lisboa will play against Swiss Anouk Vergé-Dépré/Joana Heidrich in the women’s deciding game of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour four-star event.


The women’s bronze medal match, which will have Brazil’sMaria Elisa Antonelli/Carol Solberg matching up with Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, will open the schedule of the last day of the event at 8:00 (local time), followed by the men’s third-place game, which will reunite Brazilians Guto Carvalhaes/Vitor Felipe and Poland’s Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor

The women’s gold medal match will be the next one to be played in the center court of the venue at the Meia Praia Beach, with the men’s final ending the tournament in Brazil. All the four matches will be streamed live on FIVB’s Youtube channel.

Evandro and Andre reached their second-straight final in the World Tour following a second-place finish in the Huntington Beach Open two weeks ago. The reigning world champions, who are yet to drop a set in Itapema, dominated Kantor and Losiak in two sets (21-19, 21-16) in the semifinals to win their fifth straight match in Brazil.

“We knew that their playing style would be an issue for us because we’re both tall players,” Evandro commented. “I think we were very patient during the game and Andre played amazingly, especially on blocking. We’re in a good form and it’s great to be in the final again. We’ve been playing well all week-long and we’ll need to do it again.”

Norwegian Anders Mol blocks Vitor Felipe in the second semifinal

In the second semifinal, Mol, 20, and Sorum,22, posted an impressive straight-sets (21-17, 21-13) victory over Guto and Vitor to advance to their first-ever World Tour final. 

The young duo didn’t feel the pressure coming from the thousands of Brazilians who packed the stands and managed to progress to the final match of the Itapema Open.

“It was like two Norwegians playing against thousands of Brazilians because the fans were cheering for every point,” Mol said. “We got into our own bubble, didn’t think about it all and just focus on our own game and what we had to do to beat them. It’s great that we are in the final.”



Brazil vs. Switzerland for the women’s gold

Agatha Bednarczuk and her partner Duda Lisboa are undefeated in Itapema

In the women’s tournament, Brazil and Swiss will fight for the gold medal of the Itapema Open. The teams of Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa and Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré will meet at center court on Sunday morning looking for their first titles in 2018.

The winners of the 2017 tournament of the World Tour in Brazil, Agatha and Duda booked their places to the final with a 2-1 victory (21-17, 17-21, 15-8) over fellow Brazilians Carol Solberg and Maria Elisa Antonelli.

“We’d lost out last three matches against them in the Brazilian Tour and we really wanted to find a way to beat them,” Agatha said. “We studied their game a lot, but we knew that wouldn’t be enough because they are playing really well and they’ve been in the World Tour for a while. We were really aggressive and we played together and I think that was the difference.”

Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich will play their second final together

Playing together since 2017, Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré will play in their second final together after they rebounded from a first-set loss to overcome Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson 2-1 (15-21, 21-15, 15-13) in the semifinals.

The Swiss duo, which has won the silver medal in the Hague in 2017, when they lost to Carol and Maria Antonelli, will play for their first gold medal as a team in the sands of Itapema.

“The season didn’t start well for us, so it’s great that we are in the final now,” the 26-year-old Heidrich. “It wasn’t out best game in the semifinals but in the end we won because we kept fighting and I’m proud of our team. Anouk was amazing, she played really well and kept pushing me. We didn’t start well, but we bounced back in the second set and in the third, after a bad start, we just fought as hard as we could again.”