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Silver medal finish boasts Fernanda & Lima’s FIVB World Tour rankings

Fernanda Alves (right) and Taiana Lima of Brazil climb 12 spots in FIVB World Tour rankings after silver medal finish in world championships

The Hague, The Netherlands, July 5, 2015 - Despite losing the women’s gold medal match at the 2015 FIVB “senior” World Championships here Saturday before a packed stadium and international television audience, Brazilians Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima were still “big winners” at the FIVB World Tour event.

Prior to the “disappointment” of losing the 43-minute gold medal match (2-0, 21-18, 22-20) to compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas on the sand at The Hofvijver stadium court in front of The Netherlands' center of government, Fernanda and Lima had advanced 12 spots on the FIVB World Tour rankings to become the top position movers on the international list of the top 32 tandems.

Hindered by a pair of non-point efforts in Russia and Croatia at the start of June where the Brazilians dropped country quota playoff matches at the Moscow Grand Slam and Porec Major events to Carolina Horta and Liliane Maestrini, Fernanda and Lima entered the world championships with 880 points to be tied for 31st-place on the FIVB World Tour rankings list, 1,980 points behind international leaders Agatha and Barbara.

The second spot on the world championship podium Saturday netted Fernanda and Lima 900 points to move into the top 20 on the FIVB World Tour ranking list at No. 19.  After earning their first international points this season with a 17th-place finish in the Stavanger Major in Norway, the Brazilians were ranked outside the top 50 in the world.

A bronze medal effort the week before the start of the world championships netted Fernanda and Lima 640 points to improve to No. 31 where they were listed as the sixth Brazilian pair on the FIVB World Tour list behind Agatha/Barbara, Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta (No. 5), Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (No. 9), Horta/Liliane (No. 11) and the Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara, No. 26).

With only four Brazilian pairs competing in the world championships based on their 2014 international rankings, Fernanda and Lima climb to the second podium spot helped them to surpass Horta/Lili (now No. 21) and the Salgado (No. 29).  With Agatha and Barbara still No. 1, Antonelli and Juliana moved up two spots to No. 3 while Talita and Larissa remained No. 9.

Deep in talented teams for women, Brazil also has the No. 41 team on the FIVB World Tour - Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia, who captured the bronze medal at the Czech Republic Open where the South Americans had three of the four teams in the semi-finals.  Agatha and Barbara won their first of three gold medals this season in Prague with the Salgados fourth.

Despite back-to-back podium placements on the FIVB World Tour in the United States and The Netherlands, Fernanda and Lima will be back into country quota action Monday in Switzerland.  Depending on any late withdrawals, Fernand and Lima are scheduled to play either Horta/Liliane and/or the Salgado sisters in the preliminary rounds to earn a spot in the Tuesday Gstaad Major qualifier where eight teams will advance to opening Main Draw play Wednesday.

As the newly-crowned world championships, Agatha and Barbara added 1,000 FIVB World Tour points to improve their ranking total to 3,860 for six international participation this season.  The winning effort boasted Agatha and Barbara’s lead over second-place Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan by 400 points as the Canadians placed fifth in the world championships after losing to Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta of Brazil in the quarter-finals.

With no changes, except for the ranking order among the top 10 teams, the other “big” gainers on the FIVB World Tour were Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, the fourth-place finishers at the world championships after losing the 60-minute bronze medal match Saturday (2-1, 23-25, 21-18, 15-9) to Antonelli and Juliana.  The Germans entered the world championships tied for 17th internationally and are now No. 13.

Among the 10 teams, Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia (No. 7 to No. 5) and Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands (No. 8 to No. 7) improved their standing on the FIVB World Tour.  Canadians Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas (No. 3 to No. 4), and Germans Karla Borger/Britta Buthe (No. 4 to No. 6) and Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude (No. 6 to No. 7) fell in the international rankings.

Other teams showing progress among the top 32 teams in the world were April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States (No. 41 to No. 32), Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan (No. 38 to No. 31), Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia (No. 23 to No. 17), Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland (No. 23 to No. 19) and Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic (No. 25 to No. 21).

This week’s Gstaad Major is the third of three events on the SWATCH Major Series calendar where women’s play starts Monday in the Swiss Alps village followed by the men’s country quota matches Tuesday and qualifier Wednesday.  Following the Gstaad Major, the FIVB World takes a week off before the Yokohama Grand Slam in Japan July 21-26.


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