FORT LAUDERDALE MAJOR
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Feb. 26-March 4
Brazilians Barbara Seixas de Freitas and Fernanda Alves claimed their first FIVB gold since a June 2017 title at the Xiamen Three-Star, besting countrywomen Taiana Lima/Carol Horta 21-16, 21-13 for the Fort Lauderdale Major title Saturday afternoon.
The No. 9 seed in Fort Lauderdale, Barbara/Fernanda also earned gold at two events in 2015, winning the Beach Volleyball World Championship and the St. Petersburg Grand Slam.
The duo made the final with a marathon three-set win over Americans Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross, 21-18, 26-28, 21-19, taking the match on their 10th match point try.
Lima/Horta, which began the tournament in the country quota matches and qualifying rounds and were playing in their first FIVB event as a pairing, continued their impressive run through the Fort Lauderdale Major, besting German duo Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider in three set in the first semifinal match, before falling in the final.
Horta had one previous gold medal, having finished atop the podium at the Monaco One Star in June 2017 with Juliana, while Lima’s previous best at the FIVB World Tour was a fifth-place effort at the Gstaad Five Star in July 2017 with Elize Maia.
No. 13 seed Sweat/Ross defeated No. 24 seed Bieneck/Schneider in the bronze medal match, 21-17, 21-13. The third place finish marks the second for the Americans, following a bronze medal at the Qinzhou Three-Star on Oct. 15, 2017. The duo also earned a silver medal in 2017 at the Moscow Three-Star.
Despite finishing fourth, it was a valiant effort for Bieneck/Schneider, who began the week in the qualifying rounds.