Quebec City, Canada, July 24, 2011 – With an overflow sellout crowd of nearly 5,000 on the Quebec center court enthusiastically enjoying brilliant sunshine and even more spectacular competition, two women’s teams from Brazil battled to the end as second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes finally overcame third-seeded sisters Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado in three sets to capture Sunday afternoon’s internationally-televised women’s gold medal match as the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour concluded at the double-elimination $380,000 FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011, presented by Videotron.
Back in North America for the first time since 2007, the double-gender event marked the eighth time the world tour visited Canada and the first time competing in Quebec City.
FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour
Quebec Open, Canada | July 19-24
Men | Women
In the all Brazilian women’s gold medal match, Brazil’s Antonelli/Talita Antunes won the 51-minute finale over their Brazilian compatriots Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado, 21-17, 19-21, 15-11. This was the 45th time in the 23-year history of the women’s FIVB Swatch World Tour that the gold medal match will be an all-Brazilian affair.
The ninth of 14 men’s and 10th of 15 women’s internationally-televised tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011 ran parallel schedules for both genders with the 32-team double elimination main draws which started Thursday and ended Sunday.
With the fourth consecutive day of nearly 5,000 fans filling the Quebec center court, the winning pairs in each gender share the $30,000 first-place prizes. Silver medal teams split $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and the fourth place teams divided $11,200. The venue for the open tournament in Quebec was the provincial I’Externat St-Jean Berchmans and Seminaire des Peres Maristes in the Quebec borough of Sillery.
Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes, who finished 6-0 in Quebec, were playing in their 37th FIVB Swatch World Tour event together, had their 24th final four placement as well as winning their seventh career FIVB gold medal out of 11 finals they have made. Their previous best finishes this season have been a third in Sanya, China, and a fourth in Gstaad, Switzerland, two weeks ago.
Brazil’s second-seeded Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado were playing in their 97th career FIVB Swatch World Tour event, their 13th final four and their second gold medal match. This win was their first silver medal on the international tour.
With Sunday’s victory, Antonelli/Antunes increased their career record against the Salgado sisters to 9-1 and it was the sixth time in their series that the match between two of the top Brazilian teams went three sets.
In the all-Brazilian finale, the two teams who know each other so well both on and off the court, battled back and forth with each making short runs with the other coming back to do the same.
The first set was tied 13 times up to 13-13 when Antonelli/Antunes pulled ahead by two and extended to four at the end. In a great comeback in the second set, the Salgado sisters jumped out to a 6-1 lead before their compatriots regrouped and closed the game to one point several times, the last being 19-18, before the Salgados scored the final two points to win the set.
In the tiebreaker third set, Antonelli/Antunes scored first and it was tied at 4-4 and 5-5 before the Salgados struck for four of the next five points, taking a 9-6 lead before great serves, digs and blocks by Antonelli and Antunes helped them score six straight points to take a 12-9 lead. From that point, Antonelli/Antunes were in good rhythm and extended the lead to end by scoring three of the last five points for the set, match and gold medal.
“We are so happy, it’s unbelievable,” said Antonelli. “It was a very special victory for us, especially because we have so much pressure on us and this was our first final of the year. The Salgados played great, but I think the difference in the match was our patience. We made fewer mistakes at the end then they did and I think that we might have kept our focus a little better, especially when we got down 6-9 in the tiebreaker. Both teams know each other so well and I think we were both very well prepared for this match. The fans in Quebec have been incredible, appreciating both teams and we look forward to coming back here and defending our title next year. It was an amazing first-time event. It was also wonderful for Brazil to sweep the podium, which is a hard thing to do but we have so many great teams in Brazil.”
In the women’s bronze medal match Brazil’s eighth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima, who were playing their 16th World Tour tournament together and finished in their third final four, defeated Spain’s fifth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, the first women’s team from their country to earn a final four spot in World Tour history, 21-13 and 21-19 in 36 minutes.
Brazil’s Cunha/Lima, who earned their first FIVB Swatch World Tour bronze medal, had lost to Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals in two sets and avenged that loss with their victory on Sunday. The first set started close and was last tied at 7-7 and 11-11 before the Brazilians outscored the Spaniards 10-2 to end the set. In the second set, it was back-and-forth again early and tied at 10-10, 12-12 and 13-13 before the Brazilians got a two-point edge they carried to the finish to win their first international bronze medal.
Brazil’s Cunha/Lima now have moved to a 2-1 all-time FIVB series edge against Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez.
With the sweep of the podium, Brazil has now accomplished this feet 19 times in the history of the FIVB Swatch World Tour as the South American beach volleyball powerhouse has now had three women’s teams in the final four 41 times.
A total of 97 teams from 29 countries competed in the FIVB Swatch Québec Open Jeep 2011. The FIVB Swatch World Tour previously had tournaments in Canada in Toronto (three from 1998-2000) and Montreal (four from 2002-2007).
The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events, including 12 double-gender tournaments, within all five FIVB confederations plus one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event held August 9-14 at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64m in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments are combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and all six Grand Slam stops.
After the FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour returns to Europe for the final two of six 2011 Grand Slam double-gender events: Monday through Sunday in Stare Jablonki, Poland (Mazury Orlen Grand Slam Stare Jablonki 2011) and Klagenfurt, Austria (A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank Klagenfurt 2011). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011 was the 227th women’s event and 266th men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The first men’s FIVB Swatch World Tour event was played February 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the first women’s event was played August 14-16, 1992 at Almeria, Spain. While this is the 25th year that the FIVB has sanctioned international pro beach volley events, it is the 23rd year of the men’s and 20th year of the women’s FIVB Swatch World Tour.
Also on-site this week in Quebec was a special production crew from IMG, the company that not only produces the live international telecasts of select matches, but also the weekly FIVB Swatch World Tour highlight show that is syndicated throughout the world.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, please visit www.fivb.org or visit the event website at www.quebecopenjeep.com.