Quebec City, Canada, July 22, 2011 - Enjoying a day of sunshine and relatively high humidity, Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes and Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez remained undefeated and became the first two women’s teams to advance Friday to Saturday’s semifinals 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.
FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour
Quebec Open, Canada | July 19-24
Men | Women
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. Ticket information for Thursday through Sunday is available at the event website, www.quebecopenjeep.com or by calling 418.656.3668.
Both with 4-0 records in Quebec, Brazil’s second-seeded Antonelli/Antunes have earned their 24th final four appearance in 37 career FIVB Swatch World Tour tournaments together while Spain’s fifth-seeded Baquerizo/Fernandez, who are also playing in their 37th world tour event, climbed the ladder to their first final four appearance as both teams won two matches on Friday.
Saturday’s matches will include the remaining four matches from the contender’s bracket to determine the final two teams who will meet the Brazilian’s and the Spaniards in Saturday evening’s nationally-televised semifinals.
Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes earned another pair of two-set victories Friday over teams from Greece and Australia. First they defeated Greece’s seventh-seeded Vassiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, 21-17, 21-16 in 38 minutes and capped their day with a quarterfinal victory over Australia’s 14th-seeded Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley, 21-10, 21-19 in 37 minutes. While it was Antonelli/Antunes first meeting with Cook/Hinchley, who are in their first tournament playing together again, the Brazilian’s increased their FIVB career record against Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani to 5-2.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez earning the final four slot by defeating teams from the Netherlands and Brazil. In the early afternoon, Baquerizo/Fernandez, who have also won all four of their matches in two sets, defeated Netherlands’ 13th-seeded Roos Van der Hoeven/Jantine vander Vlist, 21-14, 21-12 in 32 minutes and backed up that win by beating Brazil’s eighth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima in straight sets, 21-17, 21-19 in 34 minutes. Baquerizo/Fernandez increased their FIVB career record against the Dutch duo to 2-1 and won for the first time in three tries against the Brazilian tandem.
“We are playing very good right now, I guess you could say we’re on a roll,” said Antonelli after her team’s win over Cook/Hinchley. “We were playing against a difficult and experienced team in the Australians so we had to think a lot and be very fast. We had some good serves that put us in the game and kept us there. In the second set when it was tied 19-19 I knew I had to step up and help stop them. Talita also had a lot of good serves. There is always pressure on us because of the Olympics but every win helps us get a little closer to our goal to qualify for London 2012.”
As the FIVB Swatch World Tour has returned to Canada, Canadians started the main draw with four men’s and six women’s teams in the main draw. One women’s team, 10th-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney is the only Canadian team still alive in the tournament.
Besides Brazil’s Cunha/Lima and Australia’s Cook/Hinchley, the other four teams still alive in the tournament are Brazil’s third-seeded sisters Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado, Canada’s Bansley/Maloney, Mexico’s 21st-seeded Bibiana Candelas/Mayra Garcia and USA’s top-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.
A total of 97 teams from 29 countries have been competing in 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.