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

Second Dutch gold for Juliana and Larissa

Brazil's Larissa (left) and Juliana after clinching the title
The Hague, the Netherlands, August 28, 2011 – Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca captured their 42nd gold medal on Sunday at the FIVB Swatch World Tour HP Beach Open. The world champions beat USA’s Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in straight sets (21-21-17 21-15) in just 33 minutes. It was their second gold medal in The Hague after winning in 2009. Last year’s winners Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes took the bronze medal by beating China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang.

It was the fourth time the two rivaling teams from Brazil and USA met each other in a final this season and the third time Juliana and Larissa won. May-Treanor/Walsh captured the gold in Moscow in July, after losing in Brasilia and in Rome, in the World Championship final. In the head-to-head results the two-time olympic champions from USA are still leading 12-8.

 May-Treanor and Walsh took a lead in the first set, but gave it away at 17-17. Brazil scored four points in a row to win the set at 21-17. In the second the Americans could hang on till 8-8 but had no answer to the consistent playing Juliana and Larissa. “I really do not know what I am most disappointed about, giving away the lead in the first set or being blown away in the second”, Walsh said. “But I am looking forward to next year, so we can work hard on playing together and finding our rhythm.”

Juliana and Larissa, who also won the Dutch tournament in 2009, won due to excellent serving pressure and not making mistakes in the second set. Juliana: “We like to play Misty and Kerri, because it is always a different match and a real challenge. Always on a high level, so we learn a lot. Larissa really made the difference today, serving really well.” The Brazilian girls have won 42 gold medals in 97 World Tour events. They are also set to end on top of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour ranking.

Last year’s winners Talita/Antonelli overpowered China’s Xue/Zhang earlier in the bronze medal match Sunday morning. In a rematch of last year’s final the Brazilians won in two easy sets 21-11 21-10. The tall Chinese girls were struggling with the wind, while Brazil used it to their advantage. Antonelli has been serving strong all tournament, but she really put the pressure on this time. Talita: “Maria was great, I did not have to do anything.” Her partner hit more than a few aces. “The wind helps me”, Antonelli said. “And Talita was paying attention at the net, blocking a lot and she was great in the side-out.”

The Brazilian team was always in the final four in the three editions of the World Tour event in The Hague. They now own a Dutch medal in each color; silver in 2009, gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011. “We like playing here, we have a lot of Dutch friends and they always cheer us on, also in bad weather”, Antonelli said. “Winning today was important. We lost the semifinal, but now we can finish with a smile.” Talita/Antonelli played six final fours this season, winning one gold medal in Quebec and three bronze.

After the HP Beach Open the women will enjoy two months of rest before the final event of the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour season in Phuket, Thailand early November.   
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