Beijing, China, June 4 - Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and Kerri Walsh/Misty May-Treanor of the United States will lead the field at the Chaoyang Park as Beijing hosts the first FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Grand Slam of the year from June 6-11.
A total of 140 tandems from 37 countries and regions have been attracted to the $600,000 double gender event with the Chinese capital welcoming back international beach volleyball for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games.
Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, who were crowned three years ago in Beijing, will seek their third title of the season following a runner-up finish two weeks ago in Czech Republic. Having captured back-to-back championships in Brazilia and Shanghai, the American giants lost to Brazil’s Alison and Emanuel in the final of the men's single gender Prague Open.
"We will go back to the States now and practice hard for the Beijing Grand Slam and the World Championships in Rome," Dalhausser said after the surprising 21-19 and 21-14 loss.
In the women's tournament, Kerri Walsh will be reunited with Misty May-Treanor for the first time since the Sanya Open where May-Treanor received a knee injury that forced her out of the following events in Shanghai, China and Myslowice, Poland. Two weeks ago in Myslowice, Walsh teamed up with Brittany Hochevar to claim the seventh place.
Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer from the Netherlands, who have snatched successive gold medals in Shanghai and Myslowice, will also be interesting to watch while other medal contenders include Larissa/Juliana from Brazil and Jennifer Kessy/April Ross of the United States.
Following lackluster performance in the last few events, Chinese pairs will strive to prove themselves in front of home fans. Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, women’s bronze medallists at the Beijing Olympics, need hard work to bounce back from a disappointing ninth finish in Myslowice while Wu Penggen and Xu Linyin are the hosts' only medal hope in the men's action.
The inaugural Beijing Grand Slam is the third of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which also includes three single-gender events for women, two single-gender events for men and a special 24-team Olympic test event in London August 9-14.