Shanghai, China, May 4, 2008 - Two victories in the same Beach Volleyball event over the three-time SWATCH FIVB World Tour champions Juliana Felisberta and Larissa is a rarity, but Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro achieved the feat here Sunday by winning the All-Brazilian finale at US$350,000 China Shanghai Jinshan Open.
After defeating top-seeded Juliana and Larissa to advance to the China Shanghai Jinshan Open semi-finals Friday afternoon, the fourth-seeded Talita and Renata scored a 21-18 and 22-20 win in 41 minutes over their Brazilian rivals to capture their fifth SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal together and share the $28,000 first-place prize.
"This is quite an accomplishment for us," said the 26-year old Renata, who was the oldest player on the court." We have not beaten them a lot, so to defeat Juliana and Larissa twice in the same tournament is remarkable. We played very well and we are delighted to be competing at such a high level to start the 2008 season.”
Prior to their two setbacks to Talita and Renata this week, Juliana and Larissa had suffered two losses to the same team in the same tournament only twice in 53 SWATCH starts since forming their partnership at the start of the 2004 season. During their second-season of FIVB play together in 2005, Juliana and Larissa lost twice to compatriots Shaylyn Bede (Shelda’s sister) and Ana Paula in Osaka, Japan, and the Vickies (Arvaniti and Karadassiou) of Greece in Stavenger, Norway.
"It's a long season and we have been playing since February," said the 24-year old Juliana, the youngest player in the China Shanghai Jinshan Open finale. "This was our eighth tournament this season, including two on the world tour. We did not play with the same energy as previous events. Talita and Renata played very well today and competed very hard throughout the match. We are disappointed with the result, but we'll be more prepared for the next tournament in Seoul in two weeks."
Prior to the China Shanghai Jinshan Open, Juliana and Larissa had won 21 of the 24 previous SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches with Talita and Renata, including 21-13, 18-21 and 15-12 victory for the Adelaide gold medal March 30 at the international opener in Australia. It was Juliana and Larissa's 20th FIVB title to rank as the third winningest women's team in SWATCH history.
The two setbacks to Talita and Renata were also Juliana and Larissa’s first of the 2008 season. On the Brazilian domestic tour, Juliana and Larissa are 30-0 with three of their six gold medal wins over Talita and Renata. Entering their first match against Talita and Renata Friday, Juliana and Larissa had won 39-straight matches season.
Talita, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the China Shanghai Jinshan Open, and Renata are now 5-5 in SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches while Juliana and Larissa are now 20-14. The two teams have met six times for FIVB gold medals with Juliana and Larissa winning four of the previous five title matches.
In the bronze medal match, third-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang scored a 23-21 and 21-18 win in 41 minutes over fifth-seeded Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly to capture their 12th FIVB medal in 31 international starts together. It was also the Chinese pair's second Jinshan Beach podium placement after winning the 2006 China Shanghai Jinshan Open. Xue and Zhang shared $14,000 while Shelda and Ana Paula split $10,500 for their second "final four" finish this season after placing third in Adelaide.
The second of 16 double gender events on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar, the men's China Shanghai Jinshan Open concluded Saturday with Brazilians Harley Marques and Pedro Salgado successfully defending their Jinshan Beach title by defeating China's Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu 21-16 and 21-16 in 44 minutes.
The men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour continues next week in Europe for events in the Czech Republic (Prague, May 6-11), Italy (Roseto degli Abruzzi, May 13-18) and Croatia (Zagreb, May 20-25) before the next double gender event in Barcelona, Spain (May 26-June 1). The women are idle the week after Shanghai before playing the next two weeks in Korea (Seoul, May 13-18) and Japan (Osaka, May 20-25) before heading to Barcelona to join the men.