Ana Patricia/Rebecca win The Hague gold defying American teams – Strong Russian men dominate
Ana Patricia and Rebecca from Brazil won the year’s first FIVB event at The Hague, Netherlands. In the final they beat Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes (USA) in two straight sets to claim their first 4-star World Tour gold medal after winning silver at the FIVB 4-Star Las Vegas in October 2018. After a quick and easy first set win, the Brazilians had to fight back in the second set to finally win the gold medal match 2:0 (21:10, 21:18). Ana Patricia Ramos:
“It was very hard because the USA have very strong teams, but we stuck together and we are very happy to have this victory…It is a great birthday present for our coach.”
In the semifinals the Brazilians had beaten the second American team in the final four. Against the “A-team” Alix Klineman and April Ross they could turn around early leads from the Americans in both sets. Strong serving from April Ross didn’t help the A-team since both Ross and Klineman were heavily struggling with service reception. Ana Patricia’s strong blocking and Rebecca’s consistent side-out were enough to stop the defending champions (21:17, 21:19). After their semifinal defeat Klineman/Ross did also lose the bronze medal match against Lahti/Parkkinen from Finland.
In the men’s competition it was Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov (Russia) who claimed the gold medal against German younsters Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole who had beaten local heroes Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in the semifinals. The final was a straight two-set win for the Russians (21:11, 21:18).
But not only in the final did they show a very strong performance. Before they had defeated World Tour number one team Anders Mol and Christian Sorum from Norway in the quarterfinals. And in the semifinals they had beaten their Russian compatriots Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov who claimed the bronze medal against Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. Blocking machine Oleg Stoyanovskiy after the final:
“It wasn’t simple. The Germans put service pressure on us. It is hard to play them…We don’t have time to celebrate because we are now going on our first training camp.”