14.07.2019 - Gstaad, Switzerland
Brazil had two of the four semi-finalists in the women’s tournament of the Swatch Major Gstaad and even if neither of them took the coveted gold medals they both had reasons to celebrate as Carol Salgado/Maria Elisa Antonelli and Rebecca Cavalcanti/Ana Patricia Ramos secured their first Beach Major Series medals at the Swiss Alps.
Carol and Maria had the longest route to their silver medals in Gstaad as the Brazilians started their campaigns in the qualifier and had to play as many as eight matches, including three three-setters, in six days. It was the first medal for the duo in a five-star event after finishing fourth at both the 2018 Vienna Major and the World Tour Finals.
“I’m very proud of my team and of what we did here,” Maria reflected. “The final was an amazing match. They deserved to win, but we fought a lot for each point and I’m proud that we did it while starting from qualification. Playing in Gstaad is always special and I’m always happy to return.”
The pair however, won’t have much time to rejoice their result as they are set to play a country-quota match for the four-star event in Espinho on Tuesday. They will, for sure, have a little bit of an extra dose of confidence to work with the next time they get to the sand.
“It’s important for our team to feel that we can do it,” Carol remarked. “But unfortunately we don’t have much time to celebrate this finish. We have a very important country-quota match in two days, so we need to refocus very soon and prepare for it.”
Ana and Rebecca were playing on just their first Beach Major Series main draw in Gstaad and they returned to the Swiss Alps determined to erase last year’s memories, when they failed to advance from the qualifier and went back home without feeling the real taste of a Major tournament.
“Winning a medal in a Major makes our journey even more special,” Ana explained. “We're trying to qualify to the Olympics and this is the kind of result that will help us on that. Last year we lost here in qualification and we really wanted to return and change the story this time. We wanted to be in the podium and we made a pact that we would take a cowbell home this year and I'm glad we did it.”
Their bronze medal, however, meant hosts Switzerland was left out of the podium in their home soil as Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli finished fourth. For the Brazilians, however, it was a little bit of a payback and the Swiss knocked them out of the World Championships last week in Hamburg.
“We've had some tough matches against the Swiss and today we knew the fans would all be behind them,” Rebecca added. “We didn’t play well in the semi-finals and that made us return even more focused because we really wanted to be in the podium. We tried to avoid the pressure and we communicated well and our game just flew. Ana helped me a lot and I'm really happy about the way we played.”