Village Gstaad, Switzerland, July 5, 2011—In a setting depicting a scene from a classic Hollywood movie set in the picturesque Swiss Alps in the summertime with lush rolling green hills, towering pine trees, whispering breezes, invigorating sunshine and majestic snow-covered mountain tops lurking above Switzerland’s peaceful valley of Village Gstaad Tuesday, a team from Brazil and one from Germany advanced from country quota matches to Wednesday’s men’s qualification tournament at $600,000 FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems return to Switzerland as the double-gender event marks the 12th consecutive visit by the world tour with Gstaad hosting 10 men’s and 11 previous women’s events. Village Gstaad is nestled in a magnificent valley in Southwestern Switzerland at 3,440-feet (1,050 meters) above sea-level, the highest altitude a FIVB Swatch World Tour stop is held every year.
Advancing for Brazil was the duo of Rhooney Ferramenta/Pedro Salgado, for Germany it was Markus Bockermann/Mischa Urbatzka. These are the same four teams that played in last week’s country quota matches in Stavanger, Norway with Ferramenta/Salgado winning for the second straight week and Bockermann/Urbatzka winning this week after losing in Stavanger.
The men’s single-elimination qualification tournament Wednesday will determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw that will start on Wednesday with two days of round-robin pool play where each team will play three matches. The top three teams in each pool will then advance to Saturday’s 24-team single elimination bracket phase of the tournament.
The fourth of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011 began with women’s country quota matches on Monday, continues with the single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw on Wednesday through Friday. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, starting one day later with country quota matches on Tuesday.
Brazil’s tandem moving forward, Ferramenta/Salgado, like last week in Stavanger, needed three sets to put away Harley Marques/Thiago Santos Barbosa for the second straight tournament. Tuesday’s scores indicated a much tougher battle, with Ferramenta/Salgado winning this week 21-15, 18-21 and 15-12 in 54 minutes. In Stavanger last week, Feramenta/Salgado defeated Harley/Thiago, 21-14, 21-16 in 40 minutes.
Germany’s Bockermann/Urbatzka turned the tables on last week and eliminated compatriots Sebastian Dollinger/Stefan Windscheif, 21-16, 21-15 in 34 minutes. Last week in Stavanger, Dollinger/Windscheif surprised Bockermann/Urbatzka and defeated them in straight sets, 21-15, 22-20 in 35 minutes.
Following his team’s country quota win Tuesday, Urbatzka commented, “I think we played tactically better today and we reacted better. What is important even is that we handled the altitude in Gstaad quite well because it is always difficult adding the altitude to the competition.”
The talented field includes the entire final four finishers from both genders from last year as well as the eight of the last nine women’s gold medalists in Gstaad and the last eight men’s gold medal winners although five are playing with new teammates at the extremely popular event and venue.
In last year’s women’s competition, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca won gold, with silver going to Germany’s Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig, the bronze to china’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang and fourth place to Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Gstaad were USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (gold), Germany’s David Klemperer/Eric Koreng (silver), Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo (Bronze), and Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel (fourth place).
A total of 162 teams from 40 countries (89 men’s teams from 33 countries and 73 women’s teams from 30 countries) are playing in the FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam, including Angola (1 men, 0 women) Australia (2,3), Austria (5,3), Belarus (1,0), Belgium (2,1), Brazil (8,6), Bulgaria (0,1), Canada (3,3), China (2,3), Czech Republic (2,3), Denmark (1,0), Estonia (1,0), Finland (0,1), France (2,1), Georgia (1,1), Germany (6,8), Great Britain (1,2), Greece (2,2), Italy (5,3), Japan (2,2), Kazakhstan (2,1), Latvia (2,0), Mauritius (0,1), Mexico (0,1), Netherlands (5,4), New Zealand (1,0), Norway (3,1), Poland (2,2), Portugal (2,0), Russia (4,3), Slovak Republic (0,1), Slovenia (0,2), Spain (2,2), Sweden (1,2), Switzerland (7,4), Turkey (2,0), United States (4,5), Uruguay (1,0), Vanuatu (0,1), and Venezuela
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 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour continues with one more Grand Slam double-gender event July 11-16 in Moscow (Moscow Grand Slam). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011, the 225th women’s event and 264th 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.beachworldtour.ch.