Agatha Duda

Duda and Agatha celebrate at the podium (Photo: William Lucas/Inovafoto/CBV)

FIVB Beach Volleyball World Raking leaders Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa are in position to end their partnership on a high after the two players won the third event of the 2021 Brazilian Tour in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Set to split at the end of the year after five seasons together, the 38-year-old Agatha and the 23-year-old Duda topped veterans Carolina Salgado and Barbara Seixas in two sets (21-16, 21-17) to win their first gold medal of the national season. They will play three more tournaments together before Duda joins Ana Patricia Ramos – Agatha is yet to announce her plans for 2022.

The pair are the third different women’s team to win a tournament on the Brazilian Tour this season after Olympians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Talita Antunes prevailed in the first and Carolina and Barbara triumphed in the second. It was their 15th victory together on the country’s domestic tour.

“It’s been a very special week, with achievements I never thought I could reach,” Agatha, who celebrated her 1,000th match victory on Friday, said. “This final was really challenging because I felt really sick last night and needed medical attention. Duda did a great job in being really solid with her game. I’m really thrilled about these achievements and I hope I can keep improving on them.”

Victoria Lopes and Taina Bigi also took a place on the podium after they defeated Rebecca and Talita in straight sets (21-18, 23-21) in the bronze medal match.

In the men’s tournament, the title went to 30-year-old Vitor Felipe and 21-year-old Renato Andrew, who defeated Rio 2016 Olympic champion Alison Cerutti and new partner Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes in straight sets (21-18, 21-18) to take gold for the second time this season – they also won the opening event, in September. The two received a wild card for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star event in Itapema, next month.

“The start of the match was a little bit difficult as we had to adjust to the rainy weather and the wind,” Vitor, who won World Tour events with three different partners in his career, explained. “I believe our mental strength and our focus were the difference today. We’ve been working really hard and I take this victory as a reward for our dedication. I hope we can keep improving until the World Tour event in Itapema, which is our most important short-term goal now.”

Tokyo Olympians Evandro Goncalves and Alvaro Filho won their second medal together afte taking gold in the second event. The two finished third after opponents Andre Loyola and George Wanderley were forced to forfeit the bronze medal match due to an injury.

Between the two finals, the Brazilian Volleyball Federation honoured the country’s women’s teams that won gold and silver at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Jackie Silva/Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel/Monica Rodrigues, and their coaches, Wantuil Coelho and Marco Freitas, for the 25th anniversary of the historic match.

The fourth tournament of the 2021 Brazilian Tour will take place in Itapema from November 3-7, one week before the city hosts the World Tour event. The fifth and final tournament will be played in Cuiaba from November 1-5.