Brazil's Bednarczuk/Seixas seek Mother’s Day win at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open
“With Sunday being Mother’s Day, Barbara and I would love to be able to return home to present our mothers with the gold medals from our first-ever championship,” said the 30-year old Agatha. “Our quest will be difficult as we start play Sunday against a tough Chinese team with the prospects of playing compatriots Juliana (Felisberta Silva) and Maria (Antonelli) in the medal matches. Win or lose, we will be playing for our mothers Sunday with the goal to bring home gold.”
Bednarczuk/Seixas, who eliminated teams from the Czech Republic and Argentina Saturday to advance to their third FIVB World Tour “final four” in 12 events together, play third-seeded Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia of China in the second semifinal match Sunday morning. Seeded 12th in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli challenge seventh-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany in the first semifinal match on the on the Playa Camarones with the medal matches set for Sunday afternoon.
“We almost did not make Sunday’s rounds,” said Bednarczuk, who has captured two silvers and three bronze medals in 67 FIVB World Tour events since 2005. “Argentina played well today, especially in the first set. We made the right adjustments in the second set with our serving strategy. We started to side out consistently along with playing better defense.”
In scoring an 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-10) win in 53 minutes over 11th-seeded Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug of Argentina, Brazil's Bednarczuk/Seixas advanced to their second-straight FIVB World Tour medal round as the Brazilians won the bronze medal last week in Shanghai for their best international finish together.
“Today was our best day of competition this week,” said Bednarczuk. “We felt more comfortable with the conditions. After playing two tournaments in cold and damp China, it was a shock to our systems to come to this beautiful place where the sand is totally different along with playing in hot, humid and windy conditions.”
Bednarczuk/Seixas also lost to a Chinese team (Fan Wang/Yuan Yue) last week in the Shanghai semifinals before rebounding in the bronze medal match to defeat compatriots Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima 2-0 (21-17, 21-14). Antunes/Lima were seeded first this week and lost 2-0 25-23, 21-13) in Saturday’s quarterfinals to Juliana/Antonelli.
After being crowned the Brazilian domestic champions last month by besting Juliana/Antonelli and Antunes/Lima in the rankings, Bednarczuk/Seixas started the FIVB season by placing ninth in Fuzhou, China. After being eliminated by USA's Olympic medal winners April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in Fuzhou, Bednarczuk/Seixas avenged the setback by eliminating the Americans in Shanghai.
While Seixas won three youth and junior international gold medals, she has never competed in a title match in 32 FIVB World Tour starts. Bednarczuk has played in two finals, but dropped both title matches with Shaylyn Bede (September 2008 in Guarujá, Brazil) and Antonelli (May 2013 in Corrientes, Argentina).
“We are happy to be playing together again,” Bednarczuk said. “We played with different partners last season after playing nine FIVB events together in 2012. The start of this year has been great with a domestic championship and two international semifinals. I hope Sunday is something special for us, but it will not be easy. We will be thinking about our mothers and hope we can bring home a gold medal to honor everything they have done for us.”
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