January 6, 2019 – Ana Patricia and Rebecca won their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-Star gold medal when they defeated Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil in the 4-Star Dela Beach Open gold medal match on Sunday.
The Brazilians beat the American pair 2-0 (21-10, 21-19).
“I am happy, but there are no words for this moment,” Ana Patricia said. “It is our first gold medal in a 4-star competition and today is the birthday of our coach, so it is so, so special for us.”
Claes and Sponcil’s silver in The Hague means that they have now won two medals in three World Tour tournaments together. They claimed their first World Tour medal with bronze at the Qinzhou 3-Star and also reached the second knockout round at the 4-Star Las Vegas tournament.
Gold is Ana Patricia and Rebecca’s second medal from a 4-Star event after they won silver in Las Vegas in October 2018. It is also the third time in four World Tour tournaments that they have finished on the podium having won gold at the Qinzhou 3-Star.
They grabbed hold of the match early on to dominate the first set. Claes and Sponcil responded in the second and took control late on. Ana Patricia and Rebecca held their nerve though, and while they failed to capitalise on one match point, Ana Patricia scored the winner with a lob to the back of the court.
“I don’t know if that was our best, but we always stick together and that made the difference in the match,” Ana Patricia added.
Anniina Parkkinen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen won bronze when they fought back from a set down to defeat 2018 gold medallists April Ross and Alexandra Klineman 2-1 (15-21, 21-13, 15-6).
It is the first time that they have won a medal at a 4-Star tournament, and it will sit alongside the silver they won at the 2018 Tokyo 3-Star.
“We knew that USA was going to be a strong and powerful team so we had to push them with our serve. Especially in the third one I think we did this well.
“After the first set we knew we had to serve harder and Taru made some great blocks.”
The tournament ran from January 2-6 and was played on indoor beach courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark. It was the second year in a row that The Hague has hosted a tournament at this time of year and it again proved popular among the players who were able to compete at a top-level tournament when they would normally be involved in warm weather training.