Gstaad, Switzerland, July 6, 2011—Following the first two of three rounds of women’s 32-team main draw pool play matches Wednesday, 10 teams from 10 countries are undefeated heading into Thursday’s final round of round-robin pool play and first round of single-elimination bracket play at the $600,000 FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems are back in 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 at every year.
Leading their respective pools, with 2-0 records, are teams from Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands Russia and the United States.
The 32 teams in the main draw have been divided into eight pools of four teams each playing three round-robin matches.
On Thursday, the women finish pool play with single matches that will determine the 24 teams that will head into the final single-elimination bracket play phase of the tournament. With the eight pool winners receiving a bye in the first round of elimination, the other 16 teams will play their first round on Thursday. On Friday, the winners of Friday’s first round will meet the eight pool winners in the round of 16 followed by the quarterfinals to determine the women’s final four. On Saturday, the women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on the Gstaad center court.
Leading their pools after the first day of round robin pool play with 2-0 records are: Czech Republic’s 17th-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova (Pool A), Brazil’s second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca (Pool B), USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh (Pool C), Netherland’s fourth-seeded Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel (Pool D), Italy’s fifth-seeded Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti (Pool E), Russia’s 27th-seeded Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova (Pool F), China’s seventh-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang (Pool G) and Germany’s eighth-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig (Pool H). All eight pool leaders won both of their matches without losing a set, each going 4-0 for the day.
Also undefeated but second in their respective pools because of tie-break rules are Germany’s 15th-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler (Pool B) and Switzerland’s ninth-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr (Pool H).
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, continued 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 their country quota matches played on Tuesday.
Though they are second in their pool because of tiebreakers with Germany’s Goller/Ludwig, Switzerland’s Kuhn/Zumkehr had a great first day in their homeland, first defeating Georgia’s 24th-seeded Andrezza Martins/Cristine Santanna, 19-21, 21-15 and 15-12 in 48 minutes and then outlasting Canada’s 25th-seeded Marie Andreee Lessard/Annie Martin, 21-14, 25-23 in 43 minutes.
After winning two Gstaad center court pool play matches Wednesday in front of her vocal and supportive home country fans, Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr said, “The Canadians are a very difficult team, we had lost twice against them, but today Simone and I just played our game and that worked so well. Tomorrow we have nothing to lose against Goller/Ludwig but we really want to in once against them. And what’s more, we also want to win the pool and get the first round bye in elimination. If we play like we did today, that aggressive and well on the block, I think we can win. It’s always great to play here in Gstaad in front of our fans. They are so supportive and help us push ourselves even further.
In a major seed-breakthrough Wednesday, Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova upset USA’s top-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross in the second match of the day for both teams, defeating last week’s gold medalists in Stavanger 21-16, 21-13 in 32 minutes. In their first pool play match, Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova defeated Brazil’s 16th-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima in straight sets, 21-16, 21-18 in 35 minutes.
USA’s Kessy/Ross, the current 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour point leaders, did win their first pool play match of the day over Norway’s 32nd-seeded Kathrine Maaseide/Ingrid Torlen, 21-15, 21-17 in 34 minutes.
Recording two major seed-breakthrough wins Wednesday, Russia’s Vasina/Vozakova, who also had two win two qualification round matches before winning their two main draw pool play matches Wednesday, upset USA’s 11th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Lauren Hanson, 21-16, 21-14 in 31 minutes in their second match of the day. In their first match, Russia’s Vasina/Vozakova beat Brazil’s sixth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, 22-20, 21-16 in 37 minutes.
Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa, three-time defending FIVB Swatch World Tour season point champions, flexed their muscles during Wednesday’s pool play. Bronze medal winners last week in Stavanger, Juliana/Larissa first defeated Switzerland’s 31st-seeded Isabella Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, 21-16, 21-18 in 29 minutes and in their second match beat Greece’s 18th-seeded Vasiliki Arvanita/Maria Tsiartsiani, 21-19, 21-10 in 35 minutes.
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.
Representing eight years, the three returning women’s gold medal winners in Gstaad are Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa (2005 and 2010), Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes (2009) and Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007). May-Treanor/Walsh’s victory in 2007 was for their third FIVB Swatch World Championship.
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) entered the FIVB Swatch 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad 2011 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.