Talita Rebecca

Olympians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Talita Antunes couldn’t have had a better debut as a team after the pair won the opening event of the 2021 Brazilian Beach Volleyball Tour in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Vitor Felipe and Renato Andrew were the winners among the men.

The 28-year-old Rebecca, a Tokyo Olympian, and the 39-year-old Talita, who competed at the Beijing, London and Rio Games, won their five matches over the week in Rio, dropping just two sets. They put on a dominant performance in the final, taking veterans Barbara Seixas and Carolina Salgado down in straight sets (21-18, 21-15).

“I was always confident we’d be a good team, but didn’t expect we would click so fast,” said Rebecca, who received the best player of the gold medal match. “We tried to keep thing simple and it worked. It’s a great start and it makes us happy but we have to take it one day at a time and one tournament at a time as there’s a lot ahead of us.”

Fellow Olympians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa, who will compete at next month’s 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Cagliari, finished third to take bronze after their 2-0 (21-11, 21-15) victory over Taiana Lima and Hegeile ‘Hege’ Santos.

On the men’s side, the new team of Evandro Goncalves and Alvaro Filho advanced all the way to the final, but was upset by the 30-year-old Vitor Felipe and the 21-year-old Renato, who secured their first gold medal together with a 2-1 (14-21, 21-13, 15-11) victory over the Olympians.

“I always think that if you really want something and are willing to work for it, eventually you’ll get it,” said Renato, a U19 and U21 world champion, who won his first gold medal on the Brazilian Tour. “I have to thank Vitor, who’s a tremendous partner and someone who helps me every day with his experience, and the entire team that works with us. We’ll keep working to get more results like this. Evandro and Alvaro are two fantastic players but we had a good plan for the match and it worked.”

Rio 2016 Olympian Pedro Solberg and partner Arthur Lanci finished third after they defeated Oscar Guimaraes and Saymon Barbosa in the two-set (21-14, 21-15) gold medal match in Rio.

Olympic champion Alison Cerutti and his partner Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes finished fifth, as did two-time defending champions Andre Loyola and George Wanderley.

Rio de Janeiro will also host the second and third events of the 2021 Brazilian Tour, from October 5-10 and October 19-24 respectively.