By Jayme Monsanto, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Once again Brazilian doubles played a major role in a Beach Volleyball World Tour event. Grand Slam Moscow took place between Monday, July 13 and last Sunday, July 19, and Brazil took the Silver in both genders’ events, with a Gold in the Women’s event.
2004 Olympic Champions Ricardo and Emanuel finished second in the male competition, after being defeated by current World Champions Brink and Reckermann in the final on Sunday. The match was very balanced, as the Brazilians won the first set by 26-24, and lost the second by 18-21. In the tiebreaker set, the Germans played demonstrably better, and Ricardo and Emanuel lost by 14-16. The Bronze medal went to Swiss duo Lagica/Bella (Bella is a Swiss-naturalized Brazilian).
“We played well through the match, and even though we had a good advantage in our hands in the second set, we couldn’t win. Brink and Reckermann are having a great moment, and they have a very consistent game,” commented Ricardo after the final against the Germans.
In the Women’s Event, an all-Brazilian final took place, as Juliana and Larissa faced fellow Brazilians Renata and Val on Saturday. Juliana and Larissa were the winners, claiming the gold medal on Moscow sands. The Brazilian duo had already won in Moscow in 2005, 2006 and 2007, but could not take part in the 2008 competition as Juliana was badly injured.
“First of all, it is great to be back on top of the podium,” said Juliana, who celebrates her 26th birthday on Wednesday, July 22. “The past two weeks have been very disappointing since we played good enough to win, but could not make the big plays to win the most important matches.”
The 27-year old Larissa was “extremely pleased” about winning in Russia for the fourth time. “Juliana and I really enjoy playing in front of the Russian fans. They are very supportive of our play. We liked playing in such a historic place like St. Petersburg and are just as excited to win in the Russian capital today. It is not from Russia with love, but to Russia with much love from Juliana and me.”
The Bronze medal in the Women’s Event went to German duo Goller/Ludwig.
The next stop of the Beach Volleyball World Tour will be the Marseille Grand Slam, in France. The event starts next Thursday, July 23 and ends on Sunday, July 26.
Seven female doubles will participate: Juliana/Larissa, Ana Paula/Shelda, Maria Clara/Carolina, Talita/Maria Elisa, Ângela/Vivian and Luana/Lili. The male doubles playing the Marseille Grand Slam are: Alison/Harley, Ricardo/Emanuel and Márcio/Fábio Luiz. Five other Brazilian duos will play the Country Quota qualifying event to participate in the competition: Pedro Solberg/Benjamin, Billy/Bruno Schmidt, Pará/Bernardo, Thiago/Jan e Beto Pitta/Lipe.