Brazilians meet Europeans in Vienna Major women’s semifinals

 

Maria Antonelli (left) and Carolina Salgado celebrate an Vienna Major quarterfinal win on Friday afternoon with their Brazilian fans.

Vienna, Austria, August 3, 2018 - Two teams from Brazil will compete against pairs from the Czech Republic and the Netherlands for the women’s gold medal at the $600,000 A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch as all four duos each scored two match wins here on Friday.


The Brazilian pairs of fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas and 10th-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado will meet 16th-seeded Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands and seventh-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, respectively, in Saturday morning’s semifinals with the medal matches to be played in the afternoon where $40,000 will be presented to the winning team.


Brazil has now advanced at least one team to 291 FIVB World Tour semifinals with the Vienna Major being the 371st tournament since the start of women’s play in 1992. Two Brazilian women’s teams have been in a FIVB final four 238 times as the South American country has had at least one team in 178 World Tour gold medal matches. There have also been 60 all-Brazilian women’s gold medal matches.

Antonelli and Carolina secured the first semifinal berth for Brazil by defeating 17th-seeded qualifiers Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman of the United States 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) in a 37-minute quarterfinal match.  Earlier Friday, the Brazilians eliminated 18th-seeded Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia 2-1 (14-21, 21-14, 15-13) in 49 minutes.

“This American team has good national experience, but they’ve just started playing internationally recently, so everybody is still trying to figure them out,” said Antonelli after her match with Larson and Stockman.  “American teams always require us a lot of patience and sometimes it’s hard because as Brazilians we’re normally very emotional. We did a good job and while in Gstaad we just let the second set and the match slip, here we didn’t.”

In advancing to her first semifinal at a Beach Major Series event, Antonelli said: “We’ve been showing we are one of the most consistent teams in the world and it’s good to make it to our first semifinal in a Major. We have very big goals for our team and to accomplish them we need to have the same performance in the bigger events too.”

In securing the South American country's second semifinal berth, fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas won an all-Brazilian quarterfinal match with a 2-1 (15-21, 21-18, 15-11) win in 44 minutes. It was the second World Tour match for Barbara, who celebrated her 31st birthday Friday, against her Rio 2016 Olympic silver medal partner Agatha as the two teams have one meeting with the first being in a 2017 FIVB semifinal in Rio.

Hermannova and Slukova advanced to the Vienna Major semifinal by defeating ninth-seeded Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy of Australia 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) in 39 minutes and 14th-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of United States 2-0 (21-12, 21-12) in 34 minutes.

In Friday’s final quarterfinal match, reigning European champions Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink rallied to defeat sixth-seeded Alix Klineman/April Ross of the United States 2-1 (17-21, 25-23, 15-13) in 48 minutes. Earlier on Friday, the Dutch eliminated Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in 38 minutes.