Prague, Czech Republic, May 24, 2015 - The month of May could be “special” again for Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas as the Brazilians will be seeking their second FIVB World Tour gold medal together here Sunday afternoon after defeating compatriots Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado in the first Prague Open semi-final match.
With their first international title together last “May” in Mexico at the Puerto Vallarta Open, the second-seeded Agatha and Barbara will meet seventh-seeded Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada in the Prague final Sunday on the sands of Stvanice Stadium.
Agatha and Seixas scored a 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) win in 35 minutes over the Salgado sisters before Bansley and Pavan advanced to their first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal match with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) win in 35 minutes over 24th-seeded Eduarda Lisboa and Elize Maia. The second semi-final match featured the 16-year old Eduarda, who was the third youngest player to advance to a FIVB World Tour semi-final behind to Chinese players (Ying Huang and Xinyi Xi).
“We played very consistent against the Salgado and did not make many errors,” said the 31-year old Agatha. “All these matches are very important now due to the start of the Olympic qualifying process for Rio. As Brazilians, it is important for Barbara and me to play well in hopes of representing our country in Rio. There are a lot of good Brazilian teams seeking a berth in Rio, so finishing high in each tournament is important.”
The Brazilians, who advanced to their sixth FIVB World Tour “final four” in their 22nd international event together, are 1-1 in gold medal matches. After winning last May in Puerto Vallarta, Agatha and Seixas’ other gold medal match was at last year’s American Grand Slam in Long Beach where the Brazilians were defeated by April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
For the third-straight FIVB World event, Canada is guaranteed a podium placement as Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas captured the North American country’s first-ever international gold medal by defeating a German team in the finals of the season-opening event in Fuzhou, China. Last week in Switzerland, Broder and Valjas netted the bronze medal in the Lucerne Open.
“We are thrilled about the success of all the Canadian teams this season on the FIVB World Tour,” said the 27-year old Bansley. “All the Canadian teams are working hard to improve our standings internationally. We were excited about Jamie and Kristina’s win in China, so we hope we can duplicate that feat today against one of the best teams in the world. Agatha and Barbara have experienced a lot of success, so we have to take care of business on our side of the net and hope for the best.”
With the Prague Open being the 280th event on the FIVB World Tour since the start of the circuit in 1992, Brazil has now advanced a team to a gold medal match 247 times. While Canada has only one FIVB World Tour gold medal to their credit, Brazilians have topped the podium 137 times.