2018-08-03 20:51:00 CET
Barbara/Fernanda and Meppelink/Keizer to play for a shot at the title
Brazilians Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Berti and Dutchwomen Madelein Meppelink and Sanne Keizer had to fight hard for their semifinal spots at the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch on Friday.
Both teams were successful in their tasks and will return to the Danube Island on Saturday looking for the elusive medals.
Barbara and Fernanda, the winners of the Fort Lauderdale Major back in March, will be making their second semifinal appearance in the Beach Major Series in 2018 in as many tournaments as the duo had to withdraw from the Swatch Major Gstaad three weeks ago.
The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalists and the 33-year-old blocker had a tough national battle with Agatha Bednarcuzuk, Barbara’s former partner, and Duda Lisboa in the quarterfinals.
They lost the first set, but bounced back to win 15-21, 21-18, 15-11. It was a perfect day for Barbara, who celebrated her 31st birthday at the Danube Island in great style.
“I couldn’t have had a better birthday present,” an ecstatic Barbara commented. “I was struggling a little bit with my side out, but Fernanda helped me a lot. We just came back more patient and serving better in the second set and the game got better for us. We know how important it is to do well in the Majors and we missed Gstaad, so we really want to have a great result here.”
If the Brazilians will be returning for their second Major semifinal in 2018, Keizer and Meppelink will be among the best four teams of a Beach Major Series event for the first time since they joined forces, at the start of the season.
The team has to start in the qualifiers in Fort Lauderdale but made its way up to join the beach volleyball elite with the title of the European Championships, two weeks ago.
As their opponents, the Dutch also trailed in their quarterfinal match, but had power and determination to turn things around and down Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman in three sets (17-21, 25-23, 15-10).
“I’m really proud of our fighting spirits,” Meppelink said. “I was struggling with my passing in the first set but we just kept playing and fighting. Now we start preparing for tomorrow and we’ll bring the same energy back and fight until the end.”