2018-08-19 11:57:00 CEST
After claiming silver in the last two seasons, the Brazilian is one victory away from the top
Playing in the gold medal match in Hamburg has become a sweet routine for Agatha Bednarczuk, one that the Brazilian Olympic medalist is ready to repeat it for the third straight season at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone. This time, however, she hopes it ends slightly differently.
After losing the finals in 2016 and 2017 to German Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst – first with former teammate Barbara Seixas, in the Hamburg Major, and later with current partner Duda Lisboa, in the World Tour Finals - the 35-year-old blocker is looking for gold this time.
“Winning silver medals here in the last two year was great, but I want the gold now,” Agatha said. “I’m really confident we can make it. It’s funny because last year I think our way to the final was somehow lighter while this year we had to win tough matches since the start here. And just having gone through some struggles and playing well, it just makes me feel we’re better prepared for it.”
Agatha and Duda had the upper hand in the all-Brazilian semifinal against Maria Elisa Antonelli and Carolina Solberg, winning in two sets (31-29, 21-18). In the gold medal match, they will return to the Red Bull Beach Arena to face Czech Republic’s Makéta Sluková and Barbora Hermannová, who topped the podium in the Vienna Major two weeks ago.
“It’s the last tournament in the season and just to be playing in the last day and in the last match means a lot for us,” the veteran added. “It was a tough semifinal match for us, with a 31-29 in the first set against a very good Brazilian team. Now we have to change our focus, rest and prepare well, because the Czechs will be very tough opponents.”
The Brazilians hold a 2-1 advantage over the Czechs and curiously both times they won it happened at the Rotherbaum – the first on last year’s World Tour Finals and the most recent on their last pool play match this season, on Saturday.
“After a game like that, there will certainly be some adjustments from both sides and we need to be focused to figure out what they could do differently,” Duda explained. “We’ll talk to our coaching staff and I’m sure they will have them mapped out for us. It should be little changes, but they could make the difference.”
The World Tour Finals’ gold medal match is schedule for 2pm (CEST). At 12.30pm, Maria Antonelli and Carolina will face Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy in the bronze medal match.
What a close match that was! @bara.maki.beach are in the #HamburgFinals Women's Gold Medal Match 🇨🇿 Watch it live on BeachStream [link in bio] @vodafone_de @redbull @hamburg_de
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