U21 World Champs: Déjà vu for Duda/Ana Patricia & Makroguzova/Kholomina
Brazil's Ana Patricia Silva Ramos (left) and Eduarda Santos Lisboa enter the final for second year in a row at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships
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Both Duda/Ana Patricia and Makroguzova/Kholomina won their semifinal matches to enter the gold medal match in what will be a repeat of the 2016 final that Duda/Ana Patricia won.
In the first semifinal, the Brazilians were pitted against USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Milica Mirkovic who had defeated 2016 bronze medal winners Canada’s Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara in the afternoon quarterfinal.
The match started out closely with the two teams playing a similar formation with Plummer and Ana Patricia provided power at the net and Mirkovic and Duda solid in defence. With the Brazilians taking the first set, USA were trailing in the second before Plummer/Mirkovic pulled back 5 points in a row to bring the score to 17-16. But Duda/Ana Patricia proved their might on the court and are now just one match away from defending their 2016 title defeating USA, 2-0 (21-19, 21-16).
USA's Kathryn Plummer (blue) and Brasil's Ana Patricia Silva Ramos
“The match was special, USA has a lot of qualities. It’s very strange for me to play against someone bigger than me, I’m not used to it, but I liked it. I and Duda are united and work together very well as a team and it worked once again,” said Ana Patricia.
The Brazilians have also had previous success in Nanjing taking home the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medal.
“We’re so happy because once again here in Nanjing we are able to reach the final. We’re a team that don’t train together, we only play the youth championships together, so now we’re really looking forward to the final and hope we can win again,” said Ana Patricia.
The second semifinal saw Makroguzova/Kholomina up against Italy’s Gaia Traballi and Ester Maestroni Ester, the Italians in only their third FIVB tournament together and first international in Nanjing. The match started out evenly with the two teams going point for point pushing the score to 24-22 in favour of Russia in the first set.
Makroguzova/Kholomina quickly began to pull away in the second before Italy got on the scoreboard at 7-1. The Russian pair took control of the match and enter the final with a two win set 2-0 (24-22, 21-12).
Italy's Gaia Traballi (blue) and Svetlana Kholomina
“I want to say every team in the semifinal and final play better than in the pool. It’s strange because when you watch the videos, they play another game. But it’s not a problem and we’re very happy. We’ve worked one year for this final and we want to play Brazil and take the gold medal. We gave all our emotion in this game and we’ll see what happens tomorrow,” said Makroguzova.
On top of taking silver at the U21 World Championships last year, the pair recently won gold at the U22 European Continental Championships. Teaming up for age-group tournaments, Makroguzova and Kholomina have also played multiple FIVB World Tour tournaments with other partners.
“I wanted to thank my partner because she’s the best for me, I really like her. I think it’s really good for her here and seeing how she’s playing, she believes in her emotion and we’re so pleased for this win,” said Makroguzova.
“I’m so happy to get into the final again. Last year we met Brazil and we will try again to take the gold,” said Makroguzova.
Italy's Gaia Traballi
The bronze medal match between USA’s Plummer/Mirkovic and Traballi/Maestroni from Italy will take to the courts first on 16 July before the grand final.
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