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HP Beach Open | Women
  23/08/2011 - 28/08/2011

Juliana/Larissa meet May-Treanor/Walsh in The Hague final

China's Chen Xue (left) and Brazil's Juliana Felisberta in the semi-final
The Hague, the Netherlands, August 27, 2011 – Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca will meet USA’s Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh for the 20th time in Sunday’s final at the FIVB Swatch World Tour HP Beach Open in The Hague. According to the statistics the Americans have the advantage, leading the head-to-head by 12-7. But Juliana and Larissa won the last match between the two teams, just one week ago in Aland. The Brazilian world champions reached the final by defeating China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang in the semifinal, May-Treanor/Walsh eliminated last year’s winners Talita Antunes/Maria Antonelli.

Both finalists lost their fourth round match Saturday morning and had to play an extra loser’s bracket game to advance to the semifinals. Last year’s winners Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli upset Juliana and Larissa in the first match of the day, due to an excellent serving Antonelli. They needed a couple of set points in the first set, before Antonelli ended it with one of her aces at 26-24. In the second Juliana and Larissa trailed behind all the way, came back to 20-19, but at the ‘moment supreme’ Juliana served out.

After their loss to Talita/Antonelli the world champions got a second chance against Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani. They only needed two sets and 35 minutes to win 21-17 21-16 and advanced to the semifinal after all.

May-Treanor and Walsh were defeated by China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang in the fourth round in just two sets (21-19 22-20). It was the second time in a row after they lost the final in Aland last week. There were some great rallies and due to the pouring rain and wind the ball was very unpredictable. After their loss, two-time olympic champions May-Treanor/Walsh had another tough game against USA’s number two Jennifer Kessy/April Ross. The first set was decided at 29-27, the second in a close 21-19.

In the first semifinal of the day Talita and Antonelli were up for a tough job against olympic champions May-Treanor/Walsh. They beat the Americans only once before, in the bronze medal match in Sanya at the beginning of the season. In The Hague a tiebreak was necessary to decide the game. Experience and some luck got the Americans their spot in the final. “We were smart in placement”, Walsh admitted. “In this windy conditions you have to use finesse.” Walsh explained that she and Misty were a bit off in the morning. “We were not together, a bit separate. Later on we were more a team and our mindset was more aggressive. But I do not mind that it was a long day, it was a bit like the American AVP when you also play three matches a day. It made me feel like home.”

Although Antonelli had some strong serves again, she was not as consistent as in their first match that day. Talita: “We made too many mistakes, were not consistent enough. We are sorry we can not defend our title anymore but we will go for bronze tomorrow.”

Juliana and Larissa had a fairly easy semifinal against China’s Xue/Zhang. They made fewer mistakes and ended up winning a lot of rallies. After 32 minutes the scoreboard read 21-19 21-14. Larissa was very happy to make it to the final, after they missed a few in the past weeks. “We had a very good focus in this game. This morning the weather was terrible and we lost concentration. I am looking forward to playing Kerri and Misty in the final, because it is always a challenge and every time it takes us to a great level.”
The last time the Brazilians made it to the final, was one month ago in Stare Jablonski. May-Treanor and Walsh have been in the last two, winning in Klagenfurt and losing in Aland.

On Sunday the women’s final is scheduled for 14.30, followed by the men’s at 16.00. The winners share $30,000, the silver medalists $21,000 and third place equals $15,000. Last year’s gold medal was won by Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Maria Antonelli. They beat China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang in the final. Those teams will play for the bronze at 11.00.

After The Hague there is one more tournament left on the women’s 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour, the Thailand Open early November in Phuket.   
More press releases
29/08/2011 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Season Update
28/08/2011 Second Dutch gold for Juliana and Larissa
27/08/2011 Juliana/Larissa meet May-Treanor/Walsh in The Hague final
26/08/2011 Women’s top four remains unbeaten in The Hague
25/08/2011 Talita and Antonelli happy to be back in The Hague
24/08/2011 Holland advances two more teams to main draw in The Hague
23/08/2011 Four Dutch women's teams reach HP Beach Open qualifications
27/01/2011 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar finalised