Brazilian women in control in Itapema’s main draw


Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Berti won their first two matches in the Itapema Open

Itapema, Brazil, May 17, 2018 – Host Brazil dominated the first day of the main draw of the $300,000 Itapema Open as the country advanced three of its five women’s teams to the Round of 16, taking a good portion of the berths available in the fourth four-star event of the 2017/2018 FIVB World Tour Beach Volleyball season on Thursday.

Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Berti, the top-seeded team in Itapema, won Pool A with a pair of victories over European tandems. First, they posted a 2-0 (21-15, 22-20) win over Swiss qualifiers Elena Steinemann and Nicole Eiholzer. 

In their second match of the day, the Brazilians, who won both the Fort Lauderdale Major and the Huntington Beach Open in 2018, needed three sets (17-21, 21-16, 15-10) to defeat Russia’s Svetlana Kholominia and Nadezda Makroguzova.

“The fans have been amazing today,” Fernanda commented. “It’s always special to play in Brazil in the World Tour and we fed from their energy to come from behind and beat this very young and talented Russian team, which we hadn’t played before. Our staff briefed us well and we could prepare properly for the match.”

The other three Brazilian teams to finish the first day with perfect record and a spot in the Round of 16 were Carol Solberg/Maria Elisa Antonelli, who topped the Pool E, and Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa, the leaders of Pool G.

Teams from other four countries also advanced undefeated, including Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur, Czech Republic’s Krystina Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes and Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson.

Europeans master men's tournament

In the men’s tournament, European teams prevailed, taking up five of the eight automatic berths to the Round of 16. One of them went to Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner. 

The 13th-seeded team posted a surprising 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 15-12) win over Latvian Olympians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins to lead Pool D. The result was celebrated by the Czech, who are coached by former Italian player Andrea Tomatis.

“It’s amazing, we didn’t expect it at all,”Perusic admitted. “We were the underdogs and no one expected us to win. We didn’t have the pressure and it made things easier. It showed to us that even though we’re still not at their level, as the rankings show, if things go our way we can come up on top eventually.” 

The other European teams advancing were Poland’s Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kantor, the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and  Christiaan Varenhorst/Jasper Bouter and Norway's Anders Mol/Christian Sorum.

The non-European tandems automatically qualified to the Round of 16 are Brazil's Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola and Guto Carvalhaes/Vitor Felipe and Canada's Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter.

Pool play will be completed on Friday morning with the matches involving the teams that lost their first games in Itapema. The schedule will proceed during the day with the elimination stage and the Round of 16. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled to happen on Saturday, while the gold and bronze medal matches will take place on Sunday morning in Itapema.