American comeback nets Gstaad golden berth versus Brazil

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 9, 2016 - Down a set and trailing 20-17 in the second set, American’s April Ross and Kerri Walsh staged an amazing comeback here Saturday mid-day to advance to the women’s final of the US$800,000 Gstaad Major against Brazilian rivals Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.

After losing the first set 21-18 to third-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany, the second-seeded Ross and Walsh Jennings recovered from their three-point second set deficit to win 23-21 to force the deciding set where the Americans won 15-11 to capture the 54-minute semi-final match.

With the win, Ross and Walsh Jennings avenged a semi-final setback to Ludwig and Walkenhorst last month at the smart Major Hamburg where the Germans posted a 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 16-14) win in 59 minutes for their first-ever win over the Americans.  Saturday’s win for Ross and Walsh Jennings was their fifth in six FIVB World Tour meetings.

The top-seeded and defending Gstaad Major champions Talita and Larissa advanced to their 15th FIVB World Tour finale with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) semi-final win in 39 minutes over seventh-seeded Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands.  It was the Brazilians’ seventh-straight win over the Dutch in as many international matches between the two teams.

Talita and Larissa hold a 3-1 edge in the FIVB series with Ross and Walsh Jennings with Saturday’s finale being the fourth gold medal match between the two teams.  The last match was for the bronze medal at the smart Major Hamburg with Talita and Larissa winning 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in 32 minutes.

With the Gstaad Major being the 309th women’s FIVB World Tour event, Saturday’s finale will feature the two countries that have won the most gold medals and played in the most title matches together.  The Brazilian women have won 151 gold medals with Talita and Larissa seeking their 13th together.  The American women have won 101 titles with Ross and Walsh Jennings vying for their 11th together.

Brazil leads the gold medal head-to-head between the two countries at 51-42 with Talita and Larissa having a 2-1 edge in title matches with Ross and Walsh Jennings after winning last season in the United States (Long Beach) and earlier this season in (Vitoria).  The Americans defeated Talita and Larissa at the end of May for the Moscow Grand Slam gold medal.  All four matches have been two-setters.


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