16 Jun 2024

Brazil ran the show at Teqball World Series Tulsa

Although three countries were crowned in Tulsa, OK the South Americans gathered one gold, two silvers and two MVPs.

Only seven matches were left for the final day of the Teqball World Series Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the biggest question being who can stop the Brazilians and/or the Romanians.

Vania Moraes da Cruz (BRA) and Kinga Barabasi (ROU) were expected to have a busy day, and they faced each other twice in two consecutive finals. First off, they competed in the women’s doubles final alongside Ester Viana Mendes (BRA) and 2022 singles world champ Carolyn Greco (USA), respectively. The Brazilian team won Group A, the Romanian-American cooperation swept Group B and both pairs handled their opponents in the semis quite easily, so nobody was surprised that these two duos clashed for the gold medal at the end of the event.

The Brazilians started strong with powerful attacks and smashes, Barabasi/Greco tried to chase them, but their three doubles faults did not make their case easier. They still fought back from down 11:5 with consecutive points from Barabasi, but the Brazilians spoiled their attempt and closed them out 12:11. The good start was there again for Moraes da Cruz/Viana Mendes as they built a 2-3 point lead, but the international duo managed to stay close and even caught their rivals at 10 with an ace from Greco. Still, the Brazilians won the next rally to earn a match point, but Barabasi/Greco saved it and won the next one, too, so they evened things up.

In the deciding set, the Brazilians showed off their strong defensive game early on and were able to hang on to the small advantage they put up and closed their rivals out, capturing their first title since September 2023.

Final, women’s doubles

Vania Moraes da Cruz/Ester Viana Mendes (BRA)–Carolyn Greco/Kinga Barabasi (USA/ROU) 2:1 (11, -11, 8)

“We know each other very well with Vania and this and the uncountable working hours together paid off. It is a unique feeling now to be the first Brazilians to win in Teqball Worlds Series especially in Tulsa in front of this amazing crowd” – said Ester Viana Mendes after the final.

The mixed doubles final was set after Friday, and all four players were involved in the semifinals in one more category. Both teams started the competition in the quarterfinals, and while 2023 World Championships silver medallists Vania Moraes da Cruz/Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida (BRA) made it to the gold medal game without dropping a set, Kinga Barabasi/Apor Gyorgydeak had to complete a comeback in the semifinal against Ester Viana Mendes/Bogdan Marojevic (BRA/SRB). The two units met in the Round of 16 in Madrid only three weeks ago with the Romanians winning that contest 2:0, so the Brazilians were definitely motivated to get their revenge.

One 2022 singles world champion replaced another alongside Kinga Barabasi (who switched jerseys in the meantime) as Apor Gyorgydeak joined her for the day’s second final. Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida came in for Ester Viana Mendes for his first final of the day to fight for a gold medal that would have been the second for Vania Moraes da Cruz.

The two teams went back and forth in the first set, but the Romanians found another gear and finished stronger than the South Americans. The Europeans maintained their momentum in the second set, and despite some amazing points from the Brazilians, Barabasi/Gyorgydeak just could not have been denied. The win in two sets means the first title they achieved together.

Final, mixed doubles

Vania Moraes da Cruz/Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida (BRA)–Kinga Barabasi/Apor Gyorgydeak (ROU) 0:2 (-9, -6)

“The great atmosphere here in Tulsa helped me to focus on this final after the one we lost with Carol. As we both play singles, it makes our duo unpredictable, not to mention that Gyorgydeak is right-footed and I'm left-footed. This triumph secured us that we are on the right path to reaching this year's goal, being the world champions in mixed doubles” – said Kinga Barabasi, who will take two medals home from Tulsa.

Lindoso de Almeida had to recover as fast as possible as he was back at the table for another final, this time with his longtime partner, Leonardo Santana in the men’s doubles. Their opponents were another unit with incredible chemistry and resumé: three-time world champions Nikola Mitro/Bogdan Marojevic from Serbia. Even though the Brazilians lost one set during the group phase, their place in the gold medal game was not in jeopardy at all, and the same applies to the Serbs, who went on to have an immaculate record on their way to the final. They only met once before and the parties definitely remember that: in the fall of 2023, the Serbians broke their rivals’ hearts after winning the Rio de Janeiro Teqball Tour’s final against the home players.

The Leonardos jumped off to a good start, but the Serbians quickly found their game and took the lead with 4 points in a row. And they did look back afterwards, extended their streak, and finished off the Brazilians in dominating fashion in the first set.

The 3-time world champs stayed super aggressive, but sometimes it resulted in double faults and that meant easy points for the Brazilians. Still, their attacks were mostly successful (and spectacular), but the two Leos crawled their way back and tied the score at 10. Then Marojevic smashed one in, and with the Serbians having a match point, Lindoso committed a double fault, securing the win for Mitro/Marojevic, which is their first gold since that particular one from Rio.

Final, men’s doubles

Nikola Mitro/Bogdan Marojevic (SRB)–Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida/Leonardo Santana (BRA) 2:0 (5, 10)

"We have prepared with special care to Tulsa. We want to sit back on the throne of men's doubles at the world championships and in Tulsa we were able to execute some of our new gamestlyes." emphasized Bogdan Marojevic, after the victory.

Vania Moraes da Cruz ended her trip to Tulsa with a gold and a silver, and this performance earned her the Best Female Athlete of the Event award. Her countryman, Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida won two silvers, and also the award for the Best Male Athlete of the Event.

Teqball World Series continues in Qingdao, China between 19 & 21 of July, while FITEQ's second top flight, Teqball Tour starts the season in Grindsted, Denmark next week.