Dutch delight for Meppelink and Van Iersel

Maceió, Brazil, February 27, 2016 - For the second-straight night, one of Brazil’s top women’s Beach Volleyball teams was upset on the Pajuçara center court in front of the Hotel Enseada as Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands defeated Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas in the second of two semi-finals here Saturday evening in the US$150,000 Maceió Open.

With their 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) win in 42 minutes over the top-seeded Agatha and Barbara, the fifth-seeded Dutch women prevented an All-Brazilian finale as 22nd-seeded Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa and Elize Maia ensured a pair from the South American country was in the finals of the third women’s event on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar.

“I think our service game played a big part in our success tonight,” said the 26-year old Meppelink after evening the FIVB World Tour series with Agatha and Barbara at 3-3.  “The crowd was great, so we had to contend with their support of the world champions.  This is a great way to start this very important season.”

The important season is the “Road to Rio” for the 2016 Olympics Games where Agatha and Barbara have already booked their ticket for August’s Copacabana event along with compatriots Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca, who were eliminated Friday night by seventh-seeded Karla Borger and Britta Buthe of Germany in three sets.

Duda and Elize Maia, who had to win a qualifying match Tuesday to advance to the Main Draw, earned a spot in the finals with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) semi-final victory in 40 minutes over 14th-seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina.  It was the Brazilians’ second-straight win over Gallay and Klug to take a 2-1 lead in the FIVB series.

Sunday’s finale will be the first FIVB World Tour meeting as Meppelink will be seeking their first gold medal on the international circuit after placing second three times.  Duda and Elize Maia, who are playing in their fifth international stop as compared to the 23rd for the Dutch, is 0-1 in gold medal matches after losing the Mexico finale to a Germany team last October in Puerto Vallarta.


Brazil has won two of three FIVB World Tour women’s gold medal matches versus Dutch pairs since the start of competition in 1992.  Meppelink has appeared in all three of the Brazil vs. The Netherlands finales as she and Sophie van Gestel defeated Maria Antonelli and Agatha for a 2013 gold medal at an “open” event in Argentina.  Last season, Talita and Larissa posted gold medal wins over Meppelink and Van Iersel at FIVB Grand Slam stops in Russia (Moscow) and Poland (Olsztyn).

Meppelink and Van Iersel earned a spot in their ninth FIVB semi-final by posting a 2-0 (28-26, 21-16) win in a 51-minute quarter-final win over third-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.  Duda and Elize Maia, who advanced to their third semi-final in five FIVB World Tour appearances, eliminated 10th-seeeded Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) in 46 minutes.


Gallay and Klug earned a spot in the semi-finals with a 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) quarter-final win in 41 minutes over Borger and Buthe.  Agatha and Barbara advanced to semi-finals with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) in 41 minutes over 12th-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany.


The Maceió Open concludes with the medal matches for both women and men on Sunday where the gold medal teams will share the $11,000 first-place prize.  Following the Maceió Open, the FIVB World Tour will take a week off before resuming competition March 8-13 on famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, the first grand slam event on the 2015-2016 international Beach Volleyball calendar with an $800,000 purse.


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