Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa will soon head to Doha, Qatar, for the 4-star Katara Beach Volleyball Cup, the first double-gender event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2021, on the back of an impressive run of form on the Brazilian circuit after the team won their fourth consecutive tournament on Sunday.
Playing at the Brazilian Federation training facility in Saquarema, the silver medallists of the 2019 FIVB World Tour Finals secured their fifth gold medal in seven tournaments and their fourth in a row with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-11) victory against Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Ramos.
The winners of the Tokyo Olympics test event in 2019, who have appeared in all of the seven finals in the 2020-2021 Brazilian season, are now undefeated in their last 24 matches with their most recent defeat dating back to November 7, 2020.
This weekend’s victory brought one of Agatha and Duda’s goals for 2021 closer as the team are now in a good position to claim their first Brazilian circuit season title. The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist and the two-time World Tour Most Outstanding Player now have a 360-point lead over reigning champions Ana Patricia and Rebecca (2,720 to 2,360) with only two events to go.
“We have a clear and huge goal ahead of us in 2021 which is the Tokyo Olympics,” said 37-year-old Agatha, who was awarded as the best player in the final. “We typically use the Brazilian circuit to prepare for the World Tour, but as there’s still some uncertainty regarding the international calendar, we decided to set the goal of winning it as well. It’s not easy to keep such good form for four consecutive tournaments, and I’m proud of everyone in our team for keeping such a strong and winning mindset over the last months.”
Even though they weren’t able to return to the top of the podium, Ana Patricia and Rebecca also left Saquarema in good spirits as the team rebounded from a frustrating performance in the sixth event of the season, in January, when they had to settle for fifth.
“It felt good to have played a lot better this time,” Ana Patricia commented. “Rebecca had to deal with food poisoning this week and she wasn’t feeling her best, but she was a true warrior. It’s always very close with Agatha and Duda and we paid the price for not taking advantage of the opportunity we had to win the match. Now we’ll focus on the World Tour event in Doha and we’re very excited to compete internationally again after a long time.”
Elize Maia Secomandi and Thamela Coradello secured the third spot on the podium after they defeated Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues 2-1 (23-21, 18-21, 15-12) to secure their second bronze medal as a team.
Playing in her first tournament since November 2019, London 2012 Olympian Maria Elisa Antonelli finished ninth with partner Talita Antunes. World Tour veteran Maria Clara Salgado, who was also sidelined over the same period, partnered with Juliana Simoes, but the team failed to make it out of the qualifier.
Maria Elisa and Maria Clara back in the sand
Next week the men will head to Saquarema to compete in their seventh event of the season.
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