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Early birthday present for Brazil’s Eduarda at the U19 in Porto

Brazil's Andressa Cavalcanti Ramalho (left) gave Eduarda Santos Lisboa an early birthday present
Porto, Portugal, July 31, 2014 - Reigning U19 world champion Eduarda Santos Lisboa got an early birthday present from her partner Andressa Cavalcanti Ramalho on Thursday: top position in pool B.

The Brazilian girls defeated Paraguay’s Michelle/Erika (21-17, 21-16) and Italy’s Frasca/Giometti (21-13, 21-16) on the second day of the FIVB U19 World Championships. With four straight wins they already secured first place. One more match on Friday, when ‘Duda’ turns 16, and then they are off to the second elimination round.

“Of course I am very happy with this present”, said Eduarda. “And I think tomorrow is going to be a great day, I’m very excited for my birthday. I’m always counting the days and now the hours.”

Eduarda won the U19 World Championships last year in Porto with Taina Silva Bigi. She also won silver at the U23 that year with Thais Rodrigues, but this year there were no medals yet, only 9th at the U21 and U23.

Eduarda: “Of course it is always difficult to handle, but we still have to understand that defeats are always going to be present and we just have to learn from that and grow and move forward. I really had to focus for this championship.”

With her new partner Andressa, who finished 5th last year with Paula Hoffmann at the U19, there seems to be some kind of chemistry. “We are really good with each other in and out of the field, we are very united and that’s how it should be all the time”, said Eduarda.

“We have to be happy and play with joy”, she continued. “That way things flow just so much better and that way we are more successful in what we do. Forgetting the mistakes and move forward from it is also a very important key to winning and keeping a clear mind. Playing with happiness is the ultimate goal.”

A happy birthday party will have to wait though. “I just want a cake to celebrate. The party has to be at the end of the championship with our victory of course.”

Czech girls surprise

Another team that booked four straight wins so far was Kristyna Adamcikova and Katerina Valkova from the Czech Republic.

After defeating Stubbe/Wouters from the Netherlands (21-18, 21-17) in the morning they thought their next match against Russia’s Mastikova/Novikova would be a tough one since the Russian girls had also 3 out of 3.

But to their surprise they also finished this one in straight sets (21-16, 21-12). The Czechs played a very clean game, with a minimum of mistakes while the Russians had many unforced errors, especially in the second set.

“We just played our own game during the tournament. We try to not make mistakes. Just serve hard and I think we have good defence”, said Adamcikova.

“I thought it would be a bit harder, that we had to play tie-breaks at least”, said Valkova. “But we won all eight sets so far. That is really a surprise for us.”

Their final pool match against USA’s Muno/Jones, who booked three wins so far, will decide who is going to top the pool.

Valkova and Adamcikova qualified for the Youth Olympic Games in August in China. “We leave August 11, so this is a good preparation for us”, Valkova. “But it is not just preparing, we would like to win a medal too.”

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