2018-02-24 22:29:00 CET

#FTLMajor bound with medals!

Seven teams that will compete in Fort Lauderdale finished the weekend in the podium in Iran and Brazil

Poland's Jakub Szalankiewicz (left) and Mariusz Prudel celebrate their gold medal in the World Tour event in Kish Island (Photocredit: FIVB)Poland's Jakub Szalankiewicz (left) and Mariusz Prudel celebrate their gold medal in the World Tour event in Kish Island (Photocredit: FIVB)

The 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major is set to start this Monday with the country-quota matches, but seven beach volleyball teams are going to get to Florida already with medals on their necks as they have reached the podium this weekend in the World Tour stop in Kish Island, Iran, and in the Brazilian Tour tournament in João Pessoa.

In the three-star male tournament in Kish Island, Poland’s Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz, who will compete in the #FTLMajor’s qualification tournament on Tuesday, topped the podium after a 2-0 (21-18, 24-22) win over Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs. The Latvians, who won the four-star event in The Hague in January, are guaranteed in the main draw in Florida.

“We are really happy and satisfied because we played a very good game against a very good team,” Prudel said after the final. “That match with Plavins/Tocs was a spectacle. It was tough but it had a very nice level.”

Playing their first tournament as a team, Germans Alexander Walkenhorst and Sven Winter collected the bronze medal as they prevailed over Austria’s Julian Horl and Tobias Winter in straight sets (21-18, 21-11).

Agatha/Duda and Evandro/André triumph in Brazil

In Brazil, João Pessoa hosted the fifth stop of the National Tour, which saw the teams of Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa and Evandro Goncalves/André Loyola prevail.

Agatha and Duda, who won silver at the Fort Lauderdale Major in 2017 and are the tenth-seeds in 2018, dominated the young Tainá Bigi, 22, and Victoria Lopes, 18, in the final to post a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18). The result putted the team in the first place of the national rankings, 40 points over Carol Solberg and Maria Elisa Antonelli.

BICAMPEÃS EM JOÃO PESSOA!! πŸ₯‡πŸ†πŸπŸ #timeagathaeduda #timenissan #marinabarraclube #bodytechcitta #marinhadobrasil #exercitobrasileiro #redbull #thaluesportes #uvline #oakley #oakleybrasil #uselesaint #lesaint #teamON #TimeTop2020 #juntossomosmaisfortes #bolsaatleta #todentro #claro #embratel #voleidepraiaRJ #esporteRio @uvlineoficial @oakleybr @redbullbr

385 Likes, 17 Comments - Ágatha e Duda (@timeagathaeduda) on Instagram: "BICAMPEÃS EM JOÃO PESSOA!! πŸ₯‡πŸ†πŸπŸ #timeagathaeduda #timenissan #marinabarraclube #bodytechcitta..."

The match was especially hard for Duda as her mother, Brazilian former player Cida Lisboa, is the coach of Tainá and Victoria, with who she partnered to win the Under-19 World Championships in 2013 and 2016.

“It will always be hard to play them, but I tried my best to keep focused,” Duda said. “Having my mother in the other side and the girls…we are really good friends and have even lived together. I’m happy that they reached the final, but when the match stars our friendship is put aside and we compete for the gold medal.”

Ana Patrícia Ramos and Rebecca Silva claimed bronze as they defeated Lili Maestrini and Josi Alves in two sets (21-15, 21-16). The match can happen in two days as both teams are registered to compete in the Fort Lauderdale Major’s country-quota, on Monday, besides of Taiana Lima and Carol Horta.

In the men's tournament, the final was a rematch of the Fortaleza stop gold medal match, one month ago, with Evandro and André facing Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt. Unlike the last meeting, though, now it was the turn of world champions, who lead the National Tour rankings, to come out on top, with Evandro and André winning the gold in straight sets (21-19, 21-18).

"It was like revenge for us and I think we were more focused now as we had lost in Fortaleza," André commented. "Evandro showed why he's the best server in the world again and helped us to come from behind in the first set. And in the second we had a better strategy and forced Alison to make more mistakes than usual. It's always great to play here and now we focus in Fort Lauderdale."

Fim de etapa é sempre assim, todo mundo com um sorriso estampado no rosto e com medalha no peito! Outo para @evandroeandreoficial, prata para @alison_brunoschmidt e bronze para @vitorfelipe00 e @gutocarvalhaes! Parabéns, pessoal! #CircuitoBrasileiro #OpenJoãoPessoa #BBnosesportes #CenouraeBronze

733 Likes, 11 Comments - Conf. Brasileira de Voleibol (@cbvolei) on Instagram: "Fim de etapa é sempre assim, todo mundo com um sorriso estampado no rosto e com medalha no peito!..."

The two teams will start the #FTLMajor in the main draw, including Vitor Felipe and Guto Carvalhes, who won the bronze medal after a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) win over Rhooney Ferramenta and Moisés Mercês.

The sixth stop of the Brazilian Tour will happen between March 13 and 18 in Maceió, Alagoas.

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