Stavanger, Norway, July 2, 2011—Emerging as survivors from three rounds of single-elimination battles against the world’s best beach volleyball tandems, four worthy men’s teams have reached the final four, advancing to Sunday’s semifinals and medal matchets at the $600,000 FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011.
The 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour has been back at the majestic Vaagen Harbour venue in Norway since Monday as the double-gender celebrates the 13th consecutive visit by the world tour with Stavanger hosting its first men’s event in 1999 and its first women’s event in 2002.
FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour
Stavanger Grand Slam, Norway | June 27-July 2
Men | Women
Winning the quarterfinals Saturday evening under the lingering light of the North amidst continuing rain from drizzles to steady were Norway’s ninth-seeded Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr, Poland’s 13th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, Germany’s fourth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann and Brazil’s third-seeded Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos.
On Sunday, with the semifinals starting in late morning and continuing to the medal matches in the late afternoon, the matchups for the men’s semifinals will have Norway’s Skarlund/Spinnangr meeting Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel and the other semifinal pitting Germany’s Brink/Reckermann against Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo.
The winners will meet in the gold medal match which will be preceded by the bronze medal match. Following the gold medal match will be the colorful awards pageantry and ceremony.
After 24 of the original 32-team men’s main draw field advanced from two days of pool play, Saturday’s busy schedule included three rounds of single-elimination bracket play, ending with the quarterfinals to set the final four teams for Sunday’s men’s final four matches. The eight pool winners received first-round elimination bracket byes.
The third of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, the winning pairs in Stavanger will in each gender will share the $43,500 first-place prizes. Silver medalists will split $29,500 while bronze medal winners will divide $23,000 and the fourth place finishers will receive $18,400.
In the quarterfinals, Norway’s Skarlund/Spinnangr pulled a stunning upset over Brazil’s top-seeded Alison/Emanuel, 14-21, 21-16 and 15-11 in 46 minutes, Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel outgunned Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Jefferson Bellaguarda/Patrick Heuscher, 28-26 and 21-12, Germany’s Brink/Reckermann outlasted USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, 21-19, 21-23 and 15-10 in 64 minutes, and Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo defeated USA’s 19th-seeded Gibb/ Rosenthal, 21-14, 21-14 in 34 minutes. .
The quarterfinal losers all finish in Stavanger all place fifth in the tournament and each team will share $13,200 in prize money.
The silver medal team in Stavanger last year, Skarlund/Spinnangr continued to delight their home-country fans, spinning three Norwegian Vaagen Harbour center court victories Saturday.
In the first win Saturday, Skarlund/Spinnangr defeated Australia’s 28th-seeded Sam Boehm/Isaac Kapa (21-16, 21-17 in 36 minutes), followed by the second round victory fellow Norwegians 10th-seeded Geir Eithun/Vegard Hoidalen (21-18, 19-21, 15-11 in 58 minutes) before their victory over Alison/Emanuel that thrilled a rain-soaked packed center court stadium who seemed to enjoy the match much more than being bothered by the rain.
The Norwegian’s win over Alison/Emanuel, who won the FIVB Swatch World Championship in Rome two weeks ago, had won three straight FIVB tournaments and won 25 straight matches.
After his team’s popular victory, Norway’s Skarlund commented, “After the first set we decided to play to win, not only to get a nice loss. Our biggest asset is that we’re playing as a team, no matter what’s on the scoreboard. It takes some time to get used to Alison, he can feel really big out there. But I think we showed what we are made of and it what helped us and made it even more special was all the cheering of our Norwegian fans.”
In Saturday’s round of 16, the losing teams received 17th place finishes and each split $5,100 in prize money.
The 2011 calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events, including 12 double-gender tournaments, within all five FIVB confederations plus one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event held August 9-14 at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64-million in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments are combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and all six Grand Slam stops.
After the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour continues with two more Grand Slam double-gender events: July 4-9 in Gstaad, Switzerland (1 to 1 Energy Grand Slam) and July 11-16 in Moscow (Moscow Grand Slam). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 is the 224th women’s event and 263rd men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The first men’s FIVB Swatch World Tour event was played February 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the first women’s event was played August 14-16, 1992 at Almeria, Spain.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour or the event, please visit www.fivb.org. For information on the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, please visit the event website at www.wtstavanger.com.