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Brasilia Open | Women
  17/04/2011 - 22/04/2011

Brasilia heralds rebirth of beautiful rivalry

From left to right, Brazil's Juliana and Larissa and USA's Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor following the final of the Brasilia Open last Saturday
Brasilia, Brazil, April 27, 2011 - Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca snapped a four-match losing streak to double Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in the final of the $US380,000 Brasília Open in April. The Americans were playing their first tournament together in more than two years owing to a combination of Walsh giving birth and May-Treanor being injured, and afterwards Juliana, who knows a thing or two about long-term injury, said: “They are still as good as ever, which is remarkable.”

May-Treanor and Walsh, who won five matches during their return together to international competition, could not overcome an early 7-4 deficit in the third and deciding set before losing 21-16, 15-21, 15-13 in 49 minutes to the host country favourites.

Juliana and Larissa have become the dominant pair on the international circuit in the absence of the May-Treanor/Walsh pairing. The Brazilians captured their fourth and fifth circuit titles in 2009 and 2010 by winning 15 of 25 international events en route to overtaking the Americans as the most successful women’s team in FIVB Beach Volleyball history with 37 gold medals since forming their partnership in 2004.

The Brasília Open gold medal win also improved Juliana and Larissa’s record against May-Treanor and Walsh to 4-11. The two teams had not met on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour since June 2008, when May-Treanor and Walsh won a semifinal match in Berlin. The following week in Paris, Juliana’s Olympic dreams ended with a knee injury that forced her out of the Beijing Games.

“I’m sure they (Juliana/Larissa) did not come on to the court thinking about how many times we have beaten them,” said Walsh in Brasília. “They have dominated the FIVB Swatch World Tour for years and we respect that. But our goal is to reach the top again. For that, we know that we have to beat Juliana and Larissa.”

For May-Treanor and Walsh, the Brasília silver medal ended a record 74-match FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour winning streak. The Americans last loss was a 21-19, 21-19 defeat to China’s Jia Tian and Jie Wang in a semifinal match at the 2007 Norwegian Grand Slam in Stavanger. May-Treanor and Walsh rebounded to defeat the Chinese pair three times during the 2008 Olympic period, including their Beijing gold-medal win.

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27/04/2011 Brasilia heralds rebirth of beautiful rivalry
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22/04/2011 Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa capture women’s gold medal at Brasília Open
22/04/2011 Juliana/Larissa v. USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh for Brasília Open gold
21/04/2011 Brasilia Open streamed live on FIVB Web TV
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