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Antonelli & Juliana Capture Transavia Grand Slam Bronze Medal

Juliana Felisberta (left) and Maria Antonelli of Brazil after capturing their fourth FIVB World Tour medal this season with a two-set win over a team from the Czech Republic Sunday at The Hague Beach Stadium.

The Hague, The Netherlands, July 20, 2014 - For the fourth-time this season in nine international Beach Volleyball starts together, Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta have reached a FIVB World Tour podium as the Brazilians posted a two-set win over Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic here Sunday in the women’s bronze medal match at the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam presented by Bas Van de Goor Foundation.

Seeded sixth in the 10th women’s event on the 2014 FIVB World Tour calendar, Antonelli and Juliana scored a 2-0 (21-13 and 21-14) in 35 minutes over the third-seeded Czech Republic pair.  Kolocova and Slukova had defeated the Brazilians in two other international medal matches this season in the only two previous meetings between the two teams.

With the win, Antonelli and Juliana split the $40,000 third-place prize while Kolocova and Slukova share $30,000 for finishing fourth in their 56th FIVB World Tour event together.  Earlier this season, the Czech Republic team scored a three-set gold medal win over Antonelli and Juliana in the Berlin finale before defeating the Brazilians in two sets last week in the Gstaad third-place match.

“I’m happy with the tournament,” said the 30-year Antonelli.  “Juliana played very well.  The wind was good and it was perfect for my jump service.  It’s strategic to put the ball in the right position.  And this is what I did. We played very well in the defense. The second set was more difficult, The Czechs tried different things and we had to react to that.  When it was 18-14 in our favor, we took a time out to relax.  We needed to refocused and pay attention to what we had to do to win the match.”

Kolocova lauded Antonelli’s service game.  “She was serving in the good directions.  On the lines.  In the beginning, I couldn't get to the ball.  The serves were really well played and I wasn't ready for them.”

Slukova said “there was no match from our side.  We really struggled against such a good team and that can not happen.  You have to pressure them.  Basically everything went wrong and I think the score proved that.  Right now, I'm disappointed with our performance, but the tournament is really nice.  We look forward to returning to the Netherlands for next year’s world championships.”

The Transavia Grand Slam, the fifth women’s FIVB World Tour event held in The Netherlands, concludes later Sunday with the women’s gold medal match followed by the men’s podium placement confrontations featuring teams from Brazil, Poland and the United States.

Eighth-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler will be playing for a FIVB World Tour gold medal for the second-straight week as the German gals play 11th-seeded Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima of Brazil for the Transavia Grand Slam title where the winners split the $70,000 first-place prize while the losers share $52,000 for earning a silver medal.

The men’s bronze medal match will be an All-Brazilian affair with Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt challenging Emanuel Rego/Pedro Salgado.  In the men’s finale, sixth-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel will seeking Poland’s first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal and top-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal will be bidding to win three-straight tournament titles this season after winning the last two events in Norway and Switzerland.

Sunday’s medal was the fourth for Antonelli at The Hague Beach Stadium on Scheveningen beach and the third for Juliana, who teamed with former partner Larissa Franca to top the on Scheveningen beach podium in 2009 and 2011.  Antonelli placed second and third in The Hague with Talita Rocha in 2009 and 2011 as the pair upset Juliana and Larissa for the 2010 on Scheveningen beach title.

After this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour returns to the United States for the second-straight year as Long Beach in southern California hosts another $1-million event.  The international circuit returns to Europe in August for stops in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 29-August 3) and Poland (Stare Jablonki, August 19-24).


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