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Duda belies youth to hit World Tour heights

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 1, 2019 – Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa continued her rapid ascent to the top of the beach volleyball world in 2018, as she and Agatha Bednarczuk added even more titles and medals to their collection in their second season together. 

The 20-year-old ended the 2017-18 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season as one half of the World Tour champions after she and Agatha won gold at the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) defeat of the Czech Republic’s Barbara Hermannova and Marketa Slukova.

Along with the World Tour Finals title the Brazilian pair won gold at the Itapema 4-Star tournament, silver at the Moscow 4-Star and bronze at the Warsaw 4-Star. 

Duda’s success was reflected at the end of year awards when she was named Most Outstanding Player, Best Offensive Player and Best Hitter. 

“Every tournament, she’s learning,” Agatha said following their success in Hamburg. “Sometimes it’s about the attitude, sometimes technically, sometimes about the tactics. Every tournament she has one thing she’s learning.”


Duda’s partnership with the 35-year-old Agatha is a mix of one of the most promising players alongside one of the most experienced. 

Duda has won six age-group titles, while Agatha has a proud collection of titles, notably gold at the Netherlands 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and silver at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games with Barbara Seixas. 

“This year was incredible for her, she won the World Tour Finals and I think that was not in their plans,” Atlanta 1996 Olympic champion Sandra Pires told RedBull.com. 

“She does all the basics well. She is very young and will continue to evolve, with the aim of winning an Olympics. It is wonderful to see a defender as tall as she is (1.80 metres), which is rare in Brazil. She has blocking height which gives her a huge advantage on the court.”



Duda and Agatha teamed up at the start of 2017 and won their first World Tour medal in their first World Tour tournament together, silver at the Fort Lauderdale 5-Star. 

Their first gold soon followed at the Rio de Janeiro 4-Star, and they finished the season with three bronze and silver from the Hamburg 2017 FIVB World Tour Finals. Duda also won her sixth age-group gold, when she and Ana Patricia topped the podium, just as they had at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. 

Next up for Duda and Agatha is the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification period. The top 15 teams in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rankings will qualify automatically. The World Tour qualification window opened on September 1, 2018 and will run until June 14, 2020. 

Currently Duda and Agatha sit second in the FIVB Rankings, but they are not taking Olympic qualification for granted. 

“Sometimes it's hard to believe in all this,” Duda said following their win in Hamburg. “Everything has changed so fast for me. 

“I started to play when I was very young, but it is hard to believe that I have come so far. What I have to do is not think much of the future, but continue working as hard as I can.”


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