Despite losing to compatriots Heidrich and Zumkehr in Saturday’s morning’s first semi-final match, Forrer and Verge-Depre rebounded in the afternoon to claim the bronze medal by posting a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win in 35 minutes over Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil in the third-place match.
The victory was Forrer and Verge-Depre first win in two FIVB World Tour meetings with Talita and Larissa, who captured the 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in the United States last October on Fort Lauderdale Beach in south Florida. The previous meeting between the two teams was at the 2014 Polish Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki where the Brazilians posted a three-set pool play victory.
With the event featuring men’s play and a US$500,000 prize purse, Forrer and Verge-Depre shared $20,000 for placing third. Talita and Larissa, who placed fourth last month at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where Forrer and Verge-Depre placed ninth, split $14,000 for another fourth-place finish.
To start Saturday’s play, Forrer and Verge-Depre dropped a 2-1 (14-21, 21-15, 15-10) semi-final decision to Heidrich and Zumkehr in 54 minutes. Talita and Larissa started play Saturday morning with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) loss in 38 minutes to Rio 2016 Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.
With the women’s SWATCH Finals gold medal match moved to Sunday, Heidrich and Zumkehr will confront Ludwig and Walkenhorst for the $100,000 first-place prize while the silver medal finishers will share $50,000. The Swiss hold a 2-1 edge in the FIVB World Tour series between with the two teams with Ludwig and Walkenhorst posting their only win with a three-set victory over Heidrich and Zumkehr at the A1 Major Klagenfurt at the end of June.
A happy Forrer called the Brazilians “one of the best teams in the world. I really wish we could play them again this year because we haven’t played them all Olympic qualification. It was a perfect scenario for us to end the season with a win. It was long, hard season but it’s pretty amazing to finish it like this. It was really fun to prove that the Swiss teams can keep up with the world. We have great support - a really good coaching team and the federation helping us a lot.”
Verge-Depre said her team “just believed. We had a bad start and we just came back and fought for every ball that was the key. We worked hard for four years, now we can just play that out. That was amazing.”
With the Brazilians returning home to play in domestic events to end their season, Larissa said Saturday was “Not a good day for us. I thought they played better than us. Some days you win, some days you lose and today we lost."
Talita added “we play until November, then we rest. We are tired, but when we get on the court, we try to forget about this. I think they played better than us. They played together, they played hard."