Aland, Finland, August 18, 2011 — Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta kept up their impressive start to the $380,000 Paf Open in Aland with a win over rivals Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh on day four of the tournament.
Larissa (pictured) and Juliana are now into the semifinals of the Paf Open in Aland
The Brazilians repeated their victory in the final of the FIVB 2011 Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships, with a 21-19, 21-15 win that books their place in the semifinals on August 19.
“It is very important beating Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor because it means we only have one game tomorrow,” Larissa said. “We can rest and wait for the team that we will play. We hope to play even better, make the final on Saturday and win the tournament.”
May-Treanor and Walsh have another chance to reach the last four due to the double elimination system that means losing teams play another match after their first loss.
Next up for the reigning Olympic champions is a match with the winners of an-all German clash between Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller and Jana Kohler and Julia Sude.
“Juliana and Larissa played really well against us,” May-Treanor said. “The stuff that we could control we didn’t and we made a lot of errors. The match with April and Jennifer should have prepared us because we want to play tough games.”
Before meeting the number one seeds, May-Treanor and Walsh were forced to come back from a set down to beat compatriots April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, 17-21, 21-18, 15-11.
Ross and Kessy then kept their hopes of a tournament victory alive by beating Belgium’s Katrien Gielen and Liesbeth Mouha 25-23, 21-16 to set up a match with Brazilian sisters Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado.
“It was the first time we’ve played against them and it was really tough, but we had been watching them closely so we knew what we were up against,” Ross said.
“Today has been mentally hard. We lost the earlier game today, so it felt hard to bounce back up again and try to win.”
While most teams had took a week’s break following the A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank in Klagenfurt, Ross and Kessy took part in the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International in London, the test event for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Despite reaching the final, the pair refused to blame fatigue for their earlier loss.
"Our bodies are feeling just fine,” Ross said. “The week in London was fine as it felt like a week at home. We went to the gym three times in the week and had fun.”
Meanwhile Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli beat second seeds Chen Xue and Xi Zhang to join their fellow Brazilians in the semifinals.
The third seeds were quick to take control of the match and finished with a comfortable 21-10, 21-16 victory. The Chinese now meet the winners of the match between Ross/Kessy and the Salgado sisters, with the losing team out of the tournament.
The women’s main draw at the Paf Open concludes with the final on Saturday, August 20. It is the 13th stage of the 15 tournament FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which concludes at the Phuket Thailand Open powered by PTT in Phuket from November 1 to 6.