Brazilians aiming to maintain home dominance in Itapema
Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa of Brazil celebrate victory in 2018
A total of 88 teams (47 male and 41 female) from 26 different countries will compete for coveted Olympic ranking points with the Brazilian teams attempting to continue their dominance at the Meia Praia. The host country claimed the gold medals in both genders
last season when the tandems of Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola and
Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa topped the podium in front of
their home fans.
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Evandro and Andre, who are the reigning world champions but ended their partnership shortly after last year’s Itapema Open, will return to defend their titles with different partners. Evandro now pairs with Rio 2016 Olympic champion Bruno Schmidt while Andre recently joined forces with George Wanderley.
The hosts will have as many as eight male teams playing in Itapema, including Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho, Pedro Salgado/Vitor Felipe and Guto Carvalhaes/Saymon Barbosa. The international contingent is highlighted by Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sørum, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl, the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins.
Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum top the current men's world ranking
Agatha and Duda, the winners of the 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals, will lead the Brazilian female partnerships alongside Xiamen Open winners Ana Patricia Silva/Rebecca Cavalcanti, Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas and Maria Elisa Antonelli/Carol Salgado. The host country will also have a total of eight women’s teams in contention.
“I couldn’t play last year because I had injured my finger and I was so upset,” Ana Patricia said. “It was frustrating because it’s always special to play a World Tour event in Brazil, but we’ll be there this season and I hope we can keep showing the same good energy that led us to the recent good results.”
The list of international contenders who will challenge the Brazilians on their home courts includes Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, the Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink, Switzerland’s Anouk Vergé-Dépré/Joana Heidrich, who took silver last year, and USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/Brooke Sweat.
The tournament in Brazil also serves as a preview of the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships as 43 of the 90 first teams confirmed to compete in Hamburg from June 28-July 7 will be seen in Itapema this week.
The tournament starts on Tuesday with the American country-quota, which will reunite two female duos – Walsh Jennings/Sweat and Kelly Claes/Sarah Sponcil – and two male duos – Reid Priddy/Theo Brunner and Miles Evans/Billy Kolinske.
Qualification follows on Wednesday, when the final eight main draw berths will be disputed. Both the men’s and women’s gold medal matches will close the event on Sunday.
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