With severe weather delaying the women’s gold medal match at the 2019 FIVB Vienna Major beach volleyball tournament until Sunday morning, bronze medalists Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa got to savor a moment in the limelight that is not usually afforded to third-place finishers.
The pair defeated their fellow Brazilians Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima in the bronze-medal match 31-29, 21-19, marking the second week in a row they have medaled at an FIVB World Tour event. (Last week, Duda and Agatha won gold at the four-star in Tokyo.)
“I think this was one of the toughest medals I’ve ever won,” Agatha said. “We’re on the road for six weeks now and I feel that we are really at our limits here after playing in Japan last week, but we wanted to win it very badly. When the match got interrupted, we remembered that had just happened with us on Wednesday and that we lost to the Americans after it resumed, so we focused on warming up really well and it worked.”
In claiming bronze, Agatha and Duda received 960 Olympic qualifying points, which makes them the top-ranked team in the Brazilian Olympic qualification system (which considers the best results from four- and five-star events), overtaking former leader Ana Patricia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti.
Agatha and Duda ended up in the bronze-medal match after losing 21-17, 21-12 to Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada in the semifinals. For their part, Talita and Taiana played a grueling three-set semifinal versus Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado that lasted for an hour and 20 minutes with a final scoreline of 21-16, 35-37, 15-13. It was the longest FIVB match of the year, with the second set ranking as the fifth-highest scoring set in FIVB history.
“Maybe we are a little bit tired but that’s beside the point,” Talita said after the bronze-medal match. “At this time of course I’m not so happy, but I have to look behind and see what we’re building. I think we did good things this week.”
Carol and Maria Antonelli advance to the gold-medal match after entering the Vienna tournament through the qualifier. Sunday’s final will be the team’s eighth match of the week. Their opponents, Humana-Paredes and Pavan are aiming for their fifth medal of the year.
The men’s tournament progressed through the quarterfinals on Saturday, trimming the field to four. Among that group of remaining contenders are No. 14-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, who defeated Germany’s Nils Ehlers and Lars Fluggen 21-13, 21-18 in the quarters. The Americans will face No. 5 seed Alvaro Filho and Alison Cerutti of Brazil on Sunday for a chance to play for a gold medal.
The opposite semifinal will feature top seed and reigning Vienna champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway versus Poland’s Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek, the No. 6 seed who have finished in the top 10 in every FIVB tournament they’ve played this year. This matchup represents a rematch of last year’s Vienna tournament final.
“Vienna has been a lucky place for us,” Bryl said. “We made the final right last year and I hope we can do it again this time. We haven’t been playing really well for the last two months and after getting a bunch of ninths we were questioning ourselves if we still could play at last year’s level, but this match showed we can.”