Fort Lauderdale, USA, March 3, 2018 - Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves have gone from pain to gold. Taiana Lima and Carol Horta went from nowhere to silver.
Barbara and Fernanda, playing in their 11th FIVB World Tour event together, fended off their fellow Brazilians on Saturday to capture the gold medal in the Fort Lauderdale Major.
Seeded ninth, Barbara and Fernanda scored a 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) victory to cap a week in which they went undefeated in six matches and dropped only two sets along the way. In 2017, they won one tournament in Xiamen, China but finished no higher than fourth in the other eight events.
“Last year was a special one for us and also a painful one,” said Barbara, who captured the silver medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics with Agatha Bednarczuk. “We had to learn to play with each other in a way we could get the best from our team. We had a lot of results we didn’t expect, it was a little bad for us. Despite ending the year really good in the world rankings, it was a special year for learning.”
Taiana and Carol had a magical run through the Fort Lauderdale Major. Fewer than two weeks before the event, Taiana did not even expect to go to Florida until Carol called and offered her to replace injured partner Elize Maia.
What they did this week was win a country quota match and two qualifiers to reach the main draw, then lost only once before the gold medal match. Not a bad finish for their first tournament together.
“I will have good memories of the tournament,” Taiana said. “It is second place, and we are disappointed we lost the final. I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. This silver medal is special.”
Taiana was blasted in the head by a spike from Fernanda early in the first set, but she and Carol recovered and took an 11-10 lead. But Barbara and Fernanda won the next four points and never trailed again on a blustery, sunny day.
“I think we prepared so very well,” Fernanda said. “We did everything we could in the game and we had so few mistakes and we served very well. We started very aggressive and very strong. The wind is good for the serve, but it’s hard to receive, but we were able to serve very well and receive well so we were doing it right.”
Barbara and Fernanda split the top prize of $40,000 and Taiana and Carol shared the $32,000 second-place prize.