The Hague, The Netherlands, July 2, 2015 - If you are looking for a favorite to win the women’s gold medal at the 2015 FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships, the team at the top of the list will be Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima of Brazil.
Despite being seeded ninth in the world championships, Fernanda and Lima continue to validate their credentials as the team to beat after winning a pair of matches here Thursday over pairs from Spain and Australia on the sand of The Hofvijver stadium court to advance to the semi-finals of the 2015 event with a 6-0 match mark.
After opening play Thursday afternoon with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) “Sweet 16” win 41 minutes over eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain, Fernanda and Lima advanced to the “final four” with a 2-1 (15-21, 21-16, 18-16) victory in 55 minutes over 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia.
Earlier Thursday evening, three-fourths of the women’s “final four” field was set as sixth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas and seventh-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta from Brazil defeated teams from China and Canada, respectively, to advance to a semi-final match against other Friday.
The other semi-finalist and opponent for Fernanda and Lima Friday will be fourth-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany, who advanced to the semi-finals by eliminating 15th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat of the United States in two sets.
The Brazilians, who have a 13-match winning streak in The Hague, have a medal round history with Holtwick and Semmler. Fernanda and Lima defeated the Germans for the Dutch Grand Slam gold medal last July on nearby Scheveningen beach. A month later in Poland, Holtwick and Semmler avenged the setback with a bronze medal win in Stare Jablonki.
The Brazilians have now defeated Bawden and Clancy in two-straight FIVB World Tour events. Prior to the world championships in the United States, Fernanda and Lima posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-12) pool play victory June 20 over the Aussies in St. Petersburg, Fla. The next day in the weather-delayed event, Fernanda and Lima captured the bronze medal
Like Fernanda and Lima, Bawden and Clancy have played all their world championship matches in The Hague where they finished second in their pool after losing to Baquerizo and Liliana. After ousting a team from Switzerland in the opening elimination round, the Aussies advanced to the “Elite 8” with a 2-1 (24-22, 16-21, 15-12) win in 60 minutes over top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands.