Brasilia, Brazil, April 18, 2011 – Following two rounds of qualification tournament matches, women's teams from Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, Russia and the United States all advanced to the final field for Tuesday's main draw tournament at the Brasilia Open, the season-opening event on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour.
Russia advanced three teams to complete the field of 32 women's teams in the main draw tournament while the other countries will each have one more team in the main draw. Moving forward for Russia are Evgenia Ukolova/Anastasia Vasina (second-seeded qualification team), Ekaterina Khomyakova/Anna Vozakova (7th) and Elizaveta Ryabova/Maria Ushkova (25th).
The additional five teams advancing are Australia's Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer (1st), Brazil's Priscilla Lese Lima/Angela Vieira (11th), Italy's Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli (4th), and USA's Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson (5th).
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011, the international beach volleyball circuit is starting with the US$380,000 Brasilia Open for the third consecutive season. The competition will continue through to Saturday on the Esplanada dos Ministerios in Quadrante 1 in Brazil's capital city.
This is the first of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 schedule with the men having two additional single-gender events and the women three along with a special 24-team Olympic test event in London from August 9-14.
Brazil has staged a World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1987 and women in 1992. This is the 33rd World Tour event in Brazil for men and 28th for women, and it is the 13th time Brazil has staged a season-opening event on the international circuit.
USA's Hanson and Fendrick, playing for the first time in Brazil and eighth time in a World Tour event together, were delighted after their 21-14, 21-19 win over Brazil's 12th-seeded Luana Madeira/Liliane Maestrini. "It's always very good to compete in Brazil where we can play most of the world's best teams," said Hanson following her team's 35-minute match.
"To defeat a Brazilian team on their home court is very, very special for us. Last year I finished fifth here with Lisa Rutledge which helps me play with even more confidence. And, just like last year, I had to win a country quota play-off match as well."
Russia had four teams in Monday's qualification tournament and the three advancing teams scored victories over tandems from Austria, Brazil, Great Britain, Japan and the Netherlands. Ukolova/Vasina had a first-round bye while Khomyakova/Vozakova and Ryabova/Ushkova both earned two qualifying wins.
USA's Fendrick/Hanson and Brazil's Lima/Vieira also had to win country quota play-off matches to advance. Brazil will have five teams in the women's main draw and the United States will have four.