Gstaad, Switzerland, July 14, 2019 - In the 100th women's gold medal match between Brazil and the United States on the FIVB World Tour, Alix Klineman and April Ross from the North American country bested Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado from the South American nation to top the podium at the 20th annual Swatch Major Gstaad.
In becoming the second women's team from the United States to win a Swatch Major Gstaad title, the third-seeded Klineman and Ross posted a 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12) win in 55 minutes over the 15th-seed Antonelli and Carolina.
Previously, Olympic and world champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings captured the Gstaad crown six times - 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012. Ross and Walsh Jennings placed second in 2016 before collecting the bronze medal together at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.
With the US$600,000 Swatch Major Gstaad being the 407th World Tour event for women since the start of FIVB-sanction events in 1992, the Americans have now won 55 of the 100 gold medal matches with Brazilians. Eight of the title’s matches have been played in Gstaad with the United States leading 5-3.
When asked if the gold medal was the most satisfying of the 25 FIVB titles she has won, the 37-year old Ross said “yes. We were so frustrated after losing the gold medal match in Hamburg last week. That frustration carried over to our matches this week. This was a big win for us as a team.”
Klineman and Ross have now won four World Tour gold medals in 15 FIVB appearances together since January 2018. In their first event together in The Netherlands, Klineman and Ross had to qualify for the main draw and then advanced to the finals to defeat Antonelli and Carolina for the gold medal.
Sunday’s victory netted the Americans 1,200 Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games along with receiving the $40,000 first-place prize. Antonelli and Carolina split $32,000 for finishing second along with 1,080 points for Olympic consideration.
The gold medal meeting was set up Sunday morning when Klineman/Ross rallied from a seven-point (18-11) deficit in the first set to post a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) semi-final win in 43 minutes over top-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland. Antonelli/Carolina posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) semi-final win in 37 minutes over fifth-seeded compatriots Ana Patricia Silva/Rebecca Cavalcanti.
In the bronze medal match, Ana Patricia and Rebecca posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) win in 31 minutes over Betschart and Huberli. The Brazilians split $20,000 for third-place with 960 Olympic points with Betschart and Huberli netting 840 points and earning $16,000 for fourth-place.
Blocking at the net is Brazilian Ana Patricia Silver (center) and Nina Betschart of Switzerland
With the Tokyo 2020 “test” event looming in two weeks, the FIVB World Tour will stage to more qualifying events for the Summer Games in Portugal (Espinho) and Canada (Edmonton). Following the Tokyo event, the World Tour returns to Europe for the Vienna Major July 30-August 4 in the Austrian capital.