Sanya, China, April 27, 2011 - Following three rounds of qualification tournament matches, Australia and Russia both advanced two teams to Thursday’s Main Draw tournament at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Sanya Open presented by Olympic Bay. Brazil, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands each had one more tandem qualifying to complete the field of 32 women’s teams in the main draw tournament.
Seeded number one in the 39-team qualification tournament, Becchara Palmer and Louise Bawden of Australia eliminated Maria Todorova/Evelina Tcholakova of Bulgaria and compatriots Natalie “Nat” Cook/Tara West to make the Main Draw together with teammates Alice Rohkamper/Tamsin Hinchley.
“Today we played a very solid game and I know the other Australian team are always going to bring a fight so we have to prepare very well for it or we won’t win this game,” Bawden said following a straight sets win over Cook/West.
“We expect to come out with the same attitude and focus and continue to play an aggressive game and hope the good results to follow,” Palmer added.
Anastasia Vasina/Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova/Anna Vozakova of Russia also collected two qualifying victories in a row while the other teams advancing are Laura Giombini/Valeria Rosso (Italy), Roos Van der Hoeven/Jantine Van der Vlist (Netherlands), Angela Vieira/Liliane Maestrini (Brazil) and Kathrine Maaseide/Ingrid Torlen (Norway).
Featuring two-time Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh from the United States, Brazilian star combination Juliana Felisberta/Larissa Franca as well as Sanya Open title winning teams from 2008 to 2010, namely Jennifer Kessy-Boss/April Ross of the United States, Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr from Switzerland and Xue Chen/Zhang Xi, the Main Draw will kick off on Thursday with the finale scheduled for Sunday.
The gold medal teams for the single gender Sanya Open will split US$30,000, the silver US$21,000 and the bronze US$15,000.
The tournament is the first of three single-gender events for women in the 2011 season, which also includes two single-gender events for men along with 12 double-gender events and a special 24-team Olympic test even in London August 9 to 14.