Quebec City, Canada, July 21, 2011—When the rain-soaked sand settled following Thursday’s first day of women’s main draw competition, eight beach volleyball tandems from six countries remain undefeated after two rounds as the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour continues at the double-elimination $380,000 FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011, presented by Videotron.
Back in North America for the first time since 2007, the double-gender event marks the eighth time the world tour is visiting Canada and the first time competing in Quebec City.
The ninth of 14 men’s and 10th of 15 women’s internationally-televised tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011 will run parallel schedules for both genders. Action began with country quota playoff matches on Tuesday, single elimination qualification tournaments on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team double elimination main draws which started Thursday and runs through Sunday.
The semifinals will conclude play for each gender on Saturday night and medal matches for each gender will be played Sunday afternoon as the winning pairs in each gender share the $30,000 first-place prizes. Silver medal teams will split $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and the fourth place teams will divide $11,200.
The venue for the open tournament in Quebec, which was blanketed with rain showers for over three hours midday on Thursday, is the provincial I’Externat St-Jean Berchmans and Seminaire des Peres Maristes in the Quebec borough of Sillery. Admission is free to Tuesday’s country quota playoff matches as well as Wednesday’s qualification tournaments and ticket information for Thursday through Sunday is available at the event website, www.quebecopenjeep.com or by calling 418.656.3668.
Undefeated with two victories each on Thursday heading into Friday’s second day of main draw competition from Brazil are second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes and eighth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima.
From the United States, the two undefeated teams were sixth-seeded Angie Akers/Nicole Branagh and 17th-seeded Brittany Hochevar Rutledge.
The other teams advancing to Saturday’s third round of the winner’s bracket are Spain’s fifth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Greece’s seventh-seeded Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, Netherland’s 13th-seeded Roos Van der Hoeven/Jantine Vander Vlist and Australia’s 14th-seeded Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley.
As the FIVB Swatch World Tour has returned to Canada, Canadians started Thursday with four men’s and six women’s teams in the main draw. While none were undefeated, seven are still alive in the competition, four men’s and three women’s teams.
For Friday’s third round in the winner’s bracket, USA’s Hochevar/Rutledge will play Brazil’s Cunha/Lima, Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez will meet Netherland’s Van der Hoeven/Van der Vlist, Australia’s Cook/Hinchley will challenge USA’s Akers/Branagh and Greece’s Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani will face Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes.
In addition to the eight undefeated teams, 16 additional teams remain in the competition with one defeat each. Thursday’s schedule features 22 men’s and 22 women’s matches ending with the two winner’s bracket quarterfinal matches for each gender.
In the biggest upset of the day, USA’s Hochevar/Rutledge beat top-seeded USA compatriots Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, 21-18, 21-19 in a 39-minute second round match.
After the match, Hochevar, who is playing with her third partner so far this season commented, “We just concentrated on our side. We’re a new team and this is only our fourth tournament so we are definitely improving. We’ve been getting better so quickly and I’m learning so fast. Jen and April are such a good serving team we knew we had to side out and score when we could. Lisa blocked great, really controlling the net enough for us to win a very big match for us. I love playing beach volleyball and am enjoying the process. I try to bring good energy to each partnership and obviously I hope to get a partnership that lasts as most of the teams we play against have been a team for three to four years.”
After advancing through the qualification tournament, Hochevar/Rutledge opened main draw action Thursday with a three-set first round win over Japan’s 16th-seeded Takemi Hishibori/Satako Urata, 16-21, 21-13 and 16-14 in 51 minutes.
Now guaranteed at least a 13th-place finish, Hochevar/Rutledge previous high was a 25th-place in the Moscow Grand Slam last week.
Among the top-seeded teams, Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes had a relatively routine day, winning two matches in two-sets each. First they defeated Canda’s 31st-seeded Victoria Altomare/Melissa Humana-Paredes, 21-10, 21-12, in 27 minutes and in the second round they defeated Germany’s 18th-seeded Geeske Banck/Chrisine Aulenbrock, 21-16, 21-15 in 34 minutes.
A total of 97 teams from 29 countries have entered the FIVB Swatch Québec Open Jeep 2011. The FIVB Swatch World Tour previously had tournaments in Canada in Toronto (three from 1998-2000) and Montreal (four from 2002-2007).
The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour 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 Quebec Open Jeep 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour returns to Europe for the final two of six 2011 Grand Slam double-gender events: July 25-31 in Stare Jablonki, Poland (Mazury Orlen Grand Slam Stare Jablonki 2011) and Klagenfurt, Austria (A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank Klagenfurt 2011). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch Quebec Open Jeep 2011 will be the 227th women’s event and 266th 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. While this is the 25th year that the FIVB has sanctioned international pro beach volley events, it is the 23rd year of the men’s and 20th year of the women’s FIVB Swatch World Tour.
Also on-site this week in Quebec will be a special production crew from IMG, the company that not only produces the live international telecasts of select matches, but also the weekly FIVB Swatch World Tour highlight show that is syndicated throughout the world.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, please visit www.fivb.org or visit the event website at www.quebecopenjeep.com.