By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Larissa/Juliana duo claimed gold last weekend in the female-only Osaka Open, the 3rd stop of the woman’s World Beach Volleyball Tour. The final was a dramatic showdown between Larissa and Juliana and fellow Brazilians Talita and Maria Elisa, as the women continued the success of their male counterparts last weekend.
The first set was won by the Larissa/Juliana pairing 26 x 24, but in the second, Talita/Maria Elisa reacted strongly winning by 21 x 19. In the tiebreaker, the three-time World Tour winning duo Larissa/Juliana claimed gold after taking another tight set 18 x 16.
Despite the defeat, Talita and Maria Elisa climbed to the top of the season’s ranking with 1320 points, while Larissa/Juliana and the Germans Goller/Ludwig are tied for second place with 1200 points.
Larissa and Juliana remain lower than their compatriots Talita and Maria Elisa in the ranking in spite of their success winning the Brasília and Osaka Opens because this was only their second international appearance of the year so far, having missed the Shanghai Open because of a back injury suffered by Juliana.
“(My back in Shanghai) just did not feel right, and I did not want to put any stress on my body as I am only nine months out from major knee surgery. It is better to play on the safe side than try to play at anything less than 100 percent”, said the 25-year old.
The bronze medal was claimed by the Dutch pair Van Iersel/Keizer, who beat the Americans Akers/Turner in the 3rd place play-off.
Now, the Brazilian doubles are getting ready for the 4th stop of the World Tour, which starts on May 26th in Seoul, South Korea. Four Brazilian doubles teams are set to compete: Juliana/Larissa, Talita/Maria Elisa, Maria Clara/Carolina and Renata/Val. The first three pairs are already qualified for the main event, while Renata/Val will still have to play the qualifying round.
After a week off the men’s World Beach Volleyball Tour will also be back in action on May 26th, with the men-only event, The Myslowice Open, taking place in Poland.