A_PAL_001162297

Svenja Muller in action during the Ostrava semifinal

Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Muller secured their first Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour medal as a team by progressing from Wednesday’s qualifiers all the way to the women’s final at the Ostrava Elite16 event in Czechia. Starting at 16:00 local time on Sunday, the Germans will lock horns with Talita Antunes and Rebecca Silva of Brazil.

The bronze medals will travel to Switzerland. Whether they will be decorating the necks of Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre or Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli will be decided in an all-Swiss third place match, starting earlier on Sunday, at noon.

· All the matches of the Ostrava Elite16 are available to watch live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Fourth-seeded Talita and Rebecca snatched the first spot in the women’s final after a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) victory over Heidrich and Verge-Depre in Saturday’s semifinal. Earlier in the day, the Brazilians mastered an emphatic 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) win over second-seeded Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina to get back at the Latvians for losing to them in the semifinals of the previous Elite16 event in Rosarito, where Talita and Rebecca finished with the bronze.

Heidrich & Verge-Depre v Talita & Rebecca: Match Highlights

“I think we played so well! Switzerland are a really good team and they are doing a good job at this tournament. It is never easy! We needed a lot of power to win this match. We are so happy to be in the final now!” said 39-year-old three-time Olympian Talita Antunes.

The Swiss pair, on the other hand, made it to the semis after a 2-0 (21-17, 30-28) upset of the world’s number one team, Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands, in their quarterfinal. On Sunday, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists will be aiming at their first Beach Pro Tour podium.

Both teams that played in the other semifinal arrived from the qualifiers. Tillmann and Muller came out on the winning end of two nail-biting sets, both pushed deep into overtime, to shut out Brunner and Huberli. The second set was a real rollercoaster, with the Swiss opening a gap first, the Germans catching up and breaking away. Finally, Brunner and Huberli levelled it up and denied four German match points, before Tillmann and Muller could celebrate a 2-0 (24-22, 25-23) victory on a great block by Muller for the winning point.

Muller & Tillmann v Huberli & Brunner: Match Highlights

“It’s been a long tournament! We made it through the qualifications,” Tillmann commented. “This was a tough match; it was so close! Of course, no one wanted to give up. The Swiss team is very strong, but we are both fighters and now we are just happy that we beat them and that we play in the final tomorrow! We will fight for every point again!”

Earlier on Saturday, in the quarterfinals, 14th-seeded Tillmann and Muller delivered a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-10) upset of second-seeded Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg of Brazil, and, after two ninth-place and two fifth-place finishes, made it to the last four for the first time on the Beach Pro Tour. In their quarterfinal, Huberli and Brunner produced a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) shutout of last year’s Ostrava winners and Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar of Australia. The Swiss pair will seek their second Beach Pro Tour bronze, after finishing third at the Doha Challenge earlier this month.