2015-10-02 13:00:00 CEST
The women’s matches have been the tightest and most unpredictable of the tournament. While Brazilian women clinched Pool B Friday morning, Germany upset their plans for Pool A.
With women’s Quarterfinals looming in the afternoon, Day Four of the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals opened with gripping, no-holds-barred matches to determine how Pool play would shake out. Germany’s win against the reigning World Champions from Brazil was the stunner of the morning, completing a Pool A sweep by Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst that advances the fifth seeds to the Semifinals.
In the Western Hemisphere where duels between Brazil and the USA often take the spotlight, the atmosphere was nonetheless electric as the Germans went toe-to-toe against Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas on the sunny Side Court. Ludwig and Walkenhorst had a clean 3-0 record in the tournament, but the Brazilians were coming off a rest day with a stinging early loss against the USA to motivate them. As a vocal group of Brazilians cheered in the grandstands, fans from the USA adopted the duo from Germany during the long rallies. The Germans never let the match get out of their grasp and thrilled the crowd in straight sets, 21-17, 21, 19.
“I don’t listen to the Brazil-US hype,” said an elated Ludwig. “I know these teams are very, very good and we’ve had a lot of tough fights this season. But we are also good, and it’s nice that the fans here recognize when athletes are playing really high-level sport – and that they cheered for us Germans. I could hear them!“
Agatha and Barbara Seixas survived Pool A to compete in the afternoon’s Quarterfinals, as did Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of the USA, whose morning victory against Spain’s Liliana and Elsa sealed the Spaniards’ fate.
In Pool B, it was Brazil’s turn to sweep, as Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes took their fourth victory by defeating Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley. While the Brazilians rocket to the Semis, Bansley and Pavan will still have a chance in the afternoon’s Quarterfinals, as will Marleen Van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink of The Netherlands, whose determined morning win against Jennifer Kessy and Emily Day ended the American’s tournament hopes. Besides the women’s Quarters, Friday afternoon will also see the conclusion of Pool play for the men.
WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL LINEUP, CENTER COURT:
2:00 ET: Van Iersel/Meppelink (Netherlands) vs. Agatha/Barbara Seixas (Brazil)
3:00 ET: Fendrick/Ross (USA) vs. Bansley/Pavan (Canada)