Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2019 – Brazil’s Taiana Lima & Talita Da Rocha Antunes (seed #17), who came into the main draw from Wednesday’s qualifications, and Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich & Anouk Verge-Depre (#15) will play in Sunday’s big final of the Moscow four-star stop on the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Karla Borger & Julia Sude (#14) of Germany and Brooke Sweat & Kerri Walsh Jennings (#10) of USA will face each other for the women’s bronze. This is the first time in the history of the women's World Tour that no team among the top four is seeded higher than 10th.
Borger & Sude opened an early lead in the first set of their semifinal against Heidrich & Verge-Depre and cruised on to reach triple set point. With three in a row, the Swiss leveled it at 20-20, but on the next German set point, Sude aced to finish it off. After 6-6 in the second set, Heidrich & Verge-Depre broke away on a four-point run and never looked back closing the set off on a five-point margin and prompting a third. The tie-breaker had somewhat of a rollercoaster beginning, with the lead changing hands several times. Gradually, the Swiss team established a slight edge and making fewer mistakes than the opponents got the job done at 2-1 (20-22, 21-16, 15-12).
Earlier on Saturday, Heidrich & Verge-Depre managed a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) quarterfinal win over USA’s Kelly Claes & Sarah Sponcil (#6), while Borger & Sude came back from a set down to earn a 2-1 (20-22, 21-16, 15-8) victory over Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner & Elsa Baquerizo McMillan (#13).
“It was very tough, very, very tough!” exclaimed Joana Anouk Verge-Depre after the semifinal. “We had a slow start and they served very well. So we had to find the rhythm, get adapted to those serves and be a little bit more patient with our game. We knew we were a little bit tired after those two weeks and we needed to stay calm to stay in the game. That’s what we did as a team and that was the key.”
In what proved to be a very competitive first set of the second semifinal, Sweat & Walsh Jennings could not hold on to the three-point lead they managed to open. Taiana Lima & Talita caught up and in the money time, the Americans even had to deny a double Brazilian set point to draw level at 20-20. Still, with a couple of elegant tips by Talita, the South Americans took the set at 23-21. In the second set it was Taiana Lima & Talita who wasted an early five-point advantage and allowed Sweat & Walsh Jennings to level the score at 12-12. Even when the Brazilians ran off with a 19-16 lead the North Americans fought back to push it into overtime, but once again their opponents celebrated with a 23-21 win fixed on an unfortunate net touch by Walsh for the last point.
This was the second tough battle of the day for both teams. Taiana Lima & Talita persevered through a three-set quarterfinal against Italy’s Marta Menegatti & Viktoria Orsi Toth (#16) to claim a 2-1 (26-24, 18-21, 15-11) victory, while Sweat & Walsh Jennings delivered a 2-0 (24-22, 21-16) win over fourth-seeded Ana Patricia Silva Ramos & Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva of Brazil.
“As always against Kerri, it was a hard match, but we fought for each ball. We played together, trying to do our best, but it was not easy. Yesterday we played three matches and today we had two. But I think the semifinal was our best match of the tournament. We played focused all the time and we are so happy to be in the final,” commented Talita.
Sunday’s medal matches for the bronze, at 15:50 local time, and for the gold, at 17:05, will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel
Quick links - Beach volleyball: