Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 8, 2015 – Prior to competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, playing on iconic Copacabana had not been good for Spaniards Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez.
That has now changed since Saturday as Elsa and Liliana went from winning only once in their previous seven Copacabana matches prior to the Olympics to being 2-0 in their first two starts in the 2016 “Summer” Games after posting a 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) Pool B win in 43 minutes over Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic here Monday evening.
Now, the challenge is defeating the 2015 FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil on Wednesday with the winner advancing as the second-seeded team in the Rio 2016 elimination bracket. Agatha and Barbara won their second match of the competition earlier Monday by defeating Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) earlier Monday in 37 minutes.
When the two teams take to the sand Wednesday at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana”, the Brazilians will have a 4-1 advantage in the international series with Elsa and Liliana. The lone Spanish win was a pool play victory June 30 at the Porec Major in Croatia.
In defeating Hermannova and Slukova Monday for the first time in two meetings with the Czech pair, Elsa and Liliana trailed early in the first set before breaking from a 7-7 tie to take a 17-12 lead to coast to the set win. The second-set was close throughout with 17 ties with the last being 19-19 when the Spaniards pulled even with Hermannova and Slukova. The match ended with successful attacks by Liliana and Elsa on back-to-back rallies.
With three teams from each Rio pool advancing to the knockout rounds, the winner of the Hermannova/Slukova versus Gallay/Klug contest Wednesday will either advance to Thursday’s “lucky loser” round or the 16-team elimination bracket. The two teams have never met internationally.