Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos of Brazil are the new champions of the world! On Sunday, Duda and Ana Patricia, Youth Olympic champions at Nanjing 2014, completed a winning run of eight consecutive victories to claim the women’s final at the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022. They bring the world title back to their country for the sixth time in history, and for the first time since 2015, when Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas triumphed in The Hague.

This time, Canada had to settle for silver, with 20th-seeded Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson reaching the Rome 2022 final and earning the second World Championship medal for their country after Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes topped the podium at Hamburg 2019. The bronze medals went to Svenja Muller and Cinja Tillmann, seeded 16th in the bracket. It was Germany’s third medal in the history of the competition. For all of these six players it was the first World Championship podium. For some, like Bukovec and Muller it was also a first World Championship participation.


The Rome 2022 podium

Second-seeded Duda & Ana Patricia were well in control of the first set in Sunday’s final at the Foro Italico. They took the lead early into the set and stayed in control through the end, when Duda delivered the set point with a block-out swing and converted it with an elegant over-the-block hit for 21-17 at their next side-out. The second set was much more competitive. Despite some great blocking from Ana Patricia, Bukovec and Brandie not only stayed close behind in the score, but even took the lead momentarily at 17-16. The Brazilians, however, kept their cool, quickly regained control and with Ana Patricia’s block-out kill bringing in the 21-19 winner, they burst into celebrations as the new world champions.

“I’m so happy that I’m out of words to describe my feelings,” Duda told Volleyball World. “It’s really a dream come true. I’m just so happy with the result of our work. We were able to put everything we trained into work and every match was better than the previous one. I have to thank my partner, our team, our sponsors and family members because we wouldn’t have done it without them. It was different at the Youth Olympics. We were both very young, didn’t have much of an idea of how big that was, and we were just having fun. It’s been very special being together again now, after so many years. We keep looking back and talking about some moments we experienced together in the past and even though we’re a in a different moment in our lives now, we continue to have a lot of fun on the court. We love playing together.”

“I decided to have this ‘Believe’ tattoo on my arm after the Olympics last year because it was a difficult moment for me. I wanted to have something that would always remind me that we need to believe in ourselves before anyone else does. Today, it couldn’t make any more sense,” Ana Patricia added and then commented on Brazil winning the women’s title the previous time the World Championships came to Rome back in 2011, when Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva topped the podium.

“I didn’t get to watch that tournament, but I’ve heard a lot about it,” she said. “A few years after it, I went to practice at their training centre in Fortaleza and Larissa would keep telling me what that tournament was like. Our fitness coach now was part of their coaching staff at the time too and he’s always bringing up some situations they experienced and that makes this victory even more special for us.”

Unfortunately, the bronze medal match did not end in a way that anybody would have wanted. Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallists Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, seeded 22nd, were playing really well against Muller and Tillmann and edging forward in the score thanks to the many German errors and Heidrich’s great serving, which produced three aces on the way to a 21-16 win in the first set and a 10-7 lead in the second. However, at that moment, Heidrich injured her shoulder as she was serving. It was impossible for her to continue playing and the Swiss team were forced to forfeit the match.