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Brazilian women win Gold and Bronze, Germany Silver at Brasília Open

Germany's Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller, Brazil's Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Silva and Brazil's Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado share the women's podium Saturday at the Brasília Open.

Brasília, Brazil, April 24, 2010 - Top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca picked up where they left off last season on top of a SWATCH FIVB World Tour podium as the Brazilians defeated Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany for the gold medal at Brasília Open here Saturday morning at the opening event on international Beach Volleyball calendar.

The 21-15 and 21-19 title win on the Esplanada dos Ministérios center court in Brasília over the fifth-seeded Goller and Ludwig marked the second-straight year that Juliana and Larissa have captured the Brasília Open as the US$380,000 Brasília Open was part of the 50th anniversary celebration for the Brazilian capital and also featured men’s competition where the medal matches will be played Sunday.

With the 41-minute victory, Juliana and Larissa shared the $30,000 first-place prize while winning their 30th SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal.  Goller and Ludwig, who placed third in the 2009 Brasília Open, split $21,000 for second-place in matching their career best finish together on the international tour.  The Brazilian win also avenged a 21-18 and 26-24 setback by Juliana and Larissa to the Germans in a winner’s bracket quarterfinals match on Thursday.  Overall, Juliana and Larissa are now 5-1 against Goller and Ludwig.

Juliana and Larissa, who finished as the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour point’s champions after winning a record eight tournament titles last season, have now won three-straight season opening international events.  After placing third in the 2004 season opener in Fortaleza, Brazil, Juliana and Larissa topped the podium in the season’s first SWATCH stop in China (Shanghai 2005), Italy (Modena 2006), Australia (Adelaide 2008) and Brazil (Brasília 2009).  The pair did not play in the 2007 season opening in Shanghai.

“The difference in the gold medal match over Thursday’s quarterfinal with the Germans was our attitude,” said Juliana as she and Larissa relished in the revelry of their family and home country fans following the awards ceremony. “We had trouble sleeping Thursday night after watching the video of that first match. We didn’t make the same mistakes twice and were very confident before today’s match started.” 

“I know our Brazilian fans intimidated them today, especially in the first set.  It’s great to play an FIVB match in Brazil in front of our incredible fans and to win it makes it even better.”

In the gold medal match, the first set was tied early, but Juliana and Larissa pulled away to nine point leads of 17-8 and 18-9 before ending the set with Juliana’s lob winner over Goller.  The second set was much closer with six ties late into the match at 16-16. The  Brazilians then scored twice and kept the margin to the end when the match finished with a Juliana cross court kill following another solid set from Larissa.

Sunday’s final was the second time the two teams have met for a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal.  Juliana and Larissa defeated the Goller and Ludwig in a gold medal finale in 2007 at Espinho, Portugal.  With the Brasília Open being the 203rd SWATCH FIVB World Tour event for women, Brazil collected its 105 gold medal while having a team appear in an international finale for the 156th-time.  German women are now 1-7 in SWATCH gold medal matches with all eight meetings against Brazilian pairs.

In the bronze medal match held Saturday morning before the championship match, Brazil’s ninth-seeded Salgado sisters Maria Clara and Carolina enjoyed the enthusiasm of their home country fans while defeating USA’s third-seeded April Ross and Jennifer Kessy in straight sets, 21-16 and 21-15 in 43 minutes.

The Brazilians, who earned their first podium placement in a world tour event in Brazil while improving their career record again Ross/Kess to 2-4, will split $15,000 and the Americans, who won a silver medal here last year, picking up $11,200 as the fourth place team.



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