Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 1, 2019 – USA’s Brooke Sweat & Kerri Walsh Jennings, last week’s gold medal winners at the Jinjiang four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, are well on track to making it two in a row, as they added two more tie-breaker wins to their tally at the four-star J&T Banka Ostrava Beach Open on Saturday, to qualify for Sunday’s semifinals, where they will face fifth-seeded Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk & Eduarda Santos Lisboa - Duda. In the other semifinal, Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer & Madelein Meppelink will lock horns with another Brazilian pair, Ana Patricia Silva Ramos & Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva.
Sweat & Walsh Jennings, who started the tournament from Wednesday’s qualifications, went through two hard-fought three-set matches on Saturday. In the round of 16, they came back from a set down to claim a 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-13) win over Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich & Anouk Verge-Depre. In a spectacular three-set quarterfinal on centre court, the 13th-seeded Americans outpaced second-seeded Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson to claim a 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 21-19) victory. The Canadians wasted a double match point to prompt a nail-biting epilogue, in which the teams served for the match four times each under the applause of a fantastic crowd before Wilkerson spiked out of bounds to end the show.
Ostrava centre court during the quarterfinal match between USA and Canada
“That was an extraordinary match to be part of!” four-time Olympic medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings exclaimed. “Set 3 was one of the craziest sets I’ve ever played! At the end, Brooke was just so laser-focused, dug some amazing balls and, most importantly, put them away. She was a tornado back there! It’s such an amazing feeling! Tomorrow we play Agatha & Duda. We played them last week and it was a very tough match. We are going to give everything we have. We want to play in the final match of the day.”
“That was just such a whirlwind of a match! I am so happy right now because it really took everything we had to get that win. Canada is the top team in the world, so it’s fun to play against a team like that and really push and test ourselves to see where we’re at. It’s always fun to play on Sundays, so we can’t wait.”
Agatha & Duda celebrate their win over Australia
Agatha & Duda also started their day with a three-set comeback victory in the second elimination round. They fought back to master a 2-1 (16-21, 26-24, 15-10) win over sixth-seeded Australians Taliqua Clancy & Mariafe Artacho. In their quarterfinal match, they cruised to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) shutout of fourth-seeded Americans Alexandra Klineman & April Ross to get on the way of Sweat & Walsh Jennings on Saturday.
“We lost a pool match on the first day of the main draw, so we had to take the long way here,” said 2016 Olympic silver medallist Agatha. “But I think this loss made us think more and stay more focused, because we need to learn from our defeats. So we used this very well and today we had a really good day. We have a lot of respect for the Australian girls, because they are a very good team. We lost to them last year. We also lost our previous two games against Klineman & Ross, in Xiamen and at home in Itapema, so we knew we were up for a tough day and we needed to be tough and strong as well. First, we need some rest, and then we’ll study our opponents to come back strong again tomorrow.”
Ana Patricia & Rebecca happy after winning the all-Brazilian quarterfinal
Third-seeded Ana Patricia & Rebecca are the highest ranked team to make the semis. On Saturday, they cruised to two straight-set victories – 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) over USA’s Sara Hughes & Summer Ross and 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) over compatriots Barbara Seixas De Freitas & Fernanda Alves.
Keizer & Meppelink, seeded seventh, also defeated their opponents in straight sets. The Dutch managed a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) shutout of Brazil’s Maria Antonelli & Carolina Solberg Salgado, after which they earned a hard-fought 2-0 (28-26, 21-15) victory over Finland’s Taru Lahti-Liukkonen & Anniina Parkkinen.
All Ostrava games on Sunday (semifinals and medal matches) will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel