Agatha & Barbara overcome early deficit to reach semis

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 14, 2016 - After a slow start in the first set, reigning FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas recovered quickly to capture host Brazil its second spot in the women’s Beach Volleyball semi-finals by defeating a team from Russia in the quarter-finals here late Sunday night at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

In a match where the Brazilians posted a 2-0 (23-21, 21-16) win in 49 minutes over Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia, Agatha and Barbara trailed 19-13 in the first set after once leading 11-8.  But the world champs recovered with a 10-2 run to end the set and then dominated the next set to eliminate the Russians.

The victory was the second this year for Agatha and Barbara over Birlova and Ukolova as the Brazilians defeated the Russians on home sand at the end of February in Maceio.  The Russians had defeated Agatha and Barbara twice, but those victories were in 2012 when the Birlova and Ukolova qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Brazilians were playing together for the first time.

With the win, Agatha and Barbara will meet the winner of the match between April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States and Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia in a semi-final contest Tuesday.  The other women’s semi-final will pit top-seeded and heavy gold medal favorites Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil against Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.

Talita and Larissa also survived an upset bid earlier Sunday by Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr with a 2-1 (21-23, 27-25, 15-13) win in 68 minutes over the Switzerland pair.  Ludwig and Walkenhorst advanced to the semi-finals by defeating Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) in 35 minutes.


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