By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – After an inspired weekend, Brazilian Beach Volleyball left Poland with two gold medals and a bronze to its credit. Pedro Solberg and Benjamin claimed gold in the Men’s event, while the Women’s podium had two Brazilian doubles: Larissa and Juliana at the top, and Talita and Maria Elisa in third place.
The male duo took the gold last Sunday, August 9, by defeating reigning World Champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann, from Germany, by two sets to zero (23-21 and 21-16). “I don’t think the Germans had their best game. Today was our day and we just kept putting pressure on them throughout the match,” said the 23-year old Salgado, who was named the best player for the Mazury Open.
It was the tenth gold medal for both Pedro and Benjamin, but their first as partners. Pedro Solberg was playing with Pedro Cunha, who suffered a leg injury last July, ending his season prematurely. He then recruited Benjamin, with whom he had played in the past, and after a lot of hard work they managed to claim gold.
Despite their defeat, Brink and Reckermann won 120 points in Poland, taking over first place in the ranking, which previously belonged to Brazilian duo Harley and Alison, defeated by them in the semifinals. The Germans now have 5,600 points against the Brazilians’ 5,540.
In the Women’s Event, Juliana and Larissa claimed their 26th Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal (their fifth in the 2009 season) after beating Australian duo Louise Bawden and Becchara Palmer by two sets to zero (21-14 and 21-16). The Australian double was the surprise of the Mazury Open, as they had to play the Country Quota (tournament between a country’s non-qualified doubles) and won eight of ten matches in order to reach the final.
Louise said she was thrilled to be on the podium, “with two of the best teams in the world. I never imagined that I could get a medal this year. My biggest hope was just playing well with a chance to finish in the top nine at an event.”
In the bronze medal match, Talita/Maria Elisa claimed the medal after defeating the other surprise of the Mazury Open: Brazilian double Ângela/Vivian, who, just as the Aussies did, won the Country Quota and had an amazing winning spree, ended only by the Aussies in the semis. Talita and Maria Elisa defeated them by two sets to zero (21-18 and 21-13).
The results in Poland allowed Juliana/Larissa to further shorten the gap between them and Talita/Maria Elisa: Talita and Maria Elisa lead with 5,520 points, while Juliana and Larissa have 5,480 points.
The next stop of the Beach Volleyball World Tour will be Kristiansand, Norway, on Thursday, August 13. Ricardo/Emanuel, Pedro Solberg/Benjamin and Alison/Harley have already qualified. Before that (on Tuesday, August 11), the Country Quota takes place. Four Brazilian doubles will fight for an extra spot in the main draw: Márcio/Fábio Luiz, Billy/Bruno Schmidt, Thiago/Jan and Bruno/Magalhães.
In the female event, Juliana/Larissa, Ana Paula/Shelda and Talita/Maria Elisa have already qualified. In the Country Quota, four doubles from Brazil struggle for an extra spot: Renata/Val, Maria Clara/Carolina, Ângela/Vivian and Lili/Luana.