Porec, Croatia, July 1, 2016 - With four teams in the women’s US$800,000 Porec Major “Sweet 16” from Brazil, two of the top-rated pairs were upset here Friday morning in this Croatian coastal resort town by two pairs from Europe who could face the South Americans next month in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Tenth-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe of Germany and 13th-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy were victors from matches with Brazilians as the two European rivals advanced to Friday afternoon’s quarter-finals where the two pairs will be meeting for the seventh-time on the FIVB World Tour.
Borger and Buthe hold a 4-2 edge in the head-to-head meetings between the two teams as the Germans posted a 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) quarter-final win in 45 minutes over Menegatti and Orsi Toth at the Rio Grand Slam in mid-March on Copacabana.
Prior to Menegatti and Orsi Toth’s 2-1 (15-21, 22-20, 15-13) win in 53 minutes over defending Porec Major champions and top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil, Borger and Buthe scored a 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) win in 36 minutes over reigning FIVB world champions and third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil.
Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy (white top) blocks Brazilian Talita Antunes Friday morning at the US$800,000 Porec Major
With both the Italians and Germans headed to Rio for the Copacabana competition August 6-18, the two Brazilian pairs will be already on the sands of the iconic beach were Talita/Larissa and Agatha/Barbara will be the top two-seeded teams in the 2016 Olympic Games.
After defeating Talita and Larissa on the Porec Major center court for their third win in five meetings with the Brazilians, Menegatti and Orsi Toth said their win Friday was “better” than her team’s upset of South Americans in a “Sweet 16” match at mid-March’s Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana.
“This is better because it is today,” said the 25-year old Menegatti, who placed fifth with Greta Cicolari at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Orsi Toth agreed and added “it is always better to think about today’s accomplishments instead of past happenings. We are thrilled with this win over a great team.”
What made the Italian’s win special was how Menegatti and Orsi Toth rebounded in the final two sets after trailing 14-8 in the middle set and 6-2 in the deciding set. “It feels good to know that we can comeback against such a strong team like Brazil,” said Menegatti as she exited the Porec Major center court. “Right now, we have to regain our focus and prepare for a very strong German team.”
Also winning "Sweet 16" matches Friday morning were four qualifying teams, including 21st-seeded Fernanda Alves/Josemari Alves (no relations) and 22nd-seeded Maria Antonelli/Liliane Maestrini of Brazil, 19th-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany and 25th-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland. Advancing as expected to the quarter-finals were second-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany and fourth-seeded Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada.
In addition to the Borger/Buthe vs. Menegatti/Orsi Toth match, other quarter-final pairings have Antonelli/Liliane playing Laboureur/Sude, Bansley/Pavan meeting Fernanda/Josemari and Betschart/Huberli challenging Ludwig/Walkenhorst, who have won their last 18 FIVB World Tour matches highlighted by gold medal wins in Germany and Poland.