Duda & Ana Patricia successfully defend U21 World Championship title in Nanjing
Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos successfully defend their U21 World Championship title in Nanjing
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The gold medal match was an exact repeat of the U21 World Championship final from one year earlier, with Duda/Ana Patricia facing Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina. The match began evenly as the two teams felt their way into the match, but Duda/Ana Patricia quickly found their game and took the first set 21-15.
With Ana Patricia’s wall at the net and Duda’s skill and experience in defence the Brazilians got the second set underway. Despite strong reception from Makroguzova, Russia found it difficult to snatch points against Brazil’s strong attacks and Duda/Ana Patricia brought it home 2-0 (21-15, 21-13).
Russia's Nadezda Makroguzova (red) and Brazil's Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos (left)
“This is the second time we have played them in the final. We were really anxious to defend our title from last year. Before the tournament started we expected to meet to them in the final and that happened again,” said Duda.
The gold for Duda/Ana Patricia is their third in as many tournaments together.
“I’m super happy, all of the tournaments we played together we won gold, the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, U21 in Lucerne and now this year. We have such a good chemistry between us and now we have now words to describe how happy we are,” said Duda.
Duda currently ranks number four in the world with partner Agatha Bednarczuk and joins up with Ana Patricia for age-group tournaments.
“We don’t train together, but we still have a really good chemistry between us and we understand each other on the court. I think that’s why we are doing so well together. We’re looking forward to the next Olympic cycle to play together again. Nanjing gives us super good luck,” said Ana Patricia.
Russia's Svetlana Kholomina (red) and Brazil's Ana Patricia Silva Ramos
Makroguzova/Kholomina were defeated once again by Duda/Ana Patricia, but should not be too disappointed by taking another silver home from Nanjing.
USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Milica Mirkovic take home another age-group bronze defeating Italy’s Gaia Traballi and Ester Maestroni Ester with a convincing win, 2-0 (21-7, 21-19). Plummer/Mirkovic won bronze last year at the U19 Larnaka World Championships and Plummer has also won gold in that tournament with a different partner, Martin.
Plummer/Mirkovic and Traballi/Maestroni had already played each other in the Nanjing pool stage, with USA taking the win in the tie-break, 2-1 (21-18, 16,21, 15-13). The bronze medal match was a different story with the USA team dominating from the onset leading 16-5 at the first technical time-out. The Italians could not find their rhythm and their heads dropped in the first set.
Traballi/Maestroni came out stronger in the second and the match turned into a fight for bronze with the Italians taking the lead at 8-9. Italy could not hold onto the lead though and Plummer's 199cm strength at the net and smooth set play with partner Mirkovic earned the USA pair the bronze.
USA's Kathryn Plummer (white) and Gaia Traballi from Italy
“It feels incredible, to get to play for the USA is an honour and to take the bronze again and take another medal back to our country, it’s awesome,” said Plummer
“I’m really happy that we were able to come back after the loss to Brazil yesterday and we were able to come together as a team and get the win. I’m so excited and proud of my team and the whole USA squad cheering,” said Mirkovic.
“We played Italy in pool play, it was a lot hotter and there was a lot more elements, so everybody struggled through that. So we knew what we were getting with this team, we scouted them a lot and the match was kind of what we expected. We had a game plan and we stuck to it, so that’s what helped us win,” said Plummer.
“The medal means a lot for us, we were definitely aiming for first as every team is. We faced a tough loss against Brazil, but we kept our heads high and we stuck together and regrouped and a medal is a medal, so we just want to do our country proud,” said Mirkovic.
Italy’s Gaia Traballi
The final four finish for Traballi/Maestroni is their best result playing in their first international tournament together.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball returns to China for the World Tour Qinzhou 3-star event which will take place from 11 – 15 October.
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