Quebec City, Canada, July 23, 2011 - Basking in the sun, fun and friendly atmosphere of supportive throngs of fans at a Canadian festival, two Brazilian tandems grinded out semifinal match victories Saturday to advance to Sunday afternoon’s internationally-televised women’s gold medal match 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
Meeting in the all Brazilian women’s gold medal match as Brazil has three teams in the final four for the 41st time on the FIVB Swatch World Tour, will be second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes and third-seeded sisters Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado. This will be the 45th time in the 23-year history of the women’s FIVB Swatch World Tour that the gold medal match will be an all-Brazilian affair.
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 has been running parallel schedules for both genders with the 32-team double elimination main draws which started Thursday ending Sunday.
The bronze medal and gold medal matches will be played consecutively starting at 1 p.m. on the Quebec center court 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 is the provincial I’Externat St-Jean Berchmans and Seminaire des Peres Maristes in the Quebec borough of Sillery.
In the all-Brazilian semifinal, Brazil’s second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes defeated eighth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima, 21-13, 21-18 in a 39-minute match. Antonelli/Antunes are now 4-0 in their all-time FIVB career record against compatriots, Cunha/Lima. Antonelli/Antunes, who are now 5-0 in Quebec, are playing in their 37th FIVB Swatch World Tour event, their 24th final four appearance and will be playing in their 11th FIVB career gold medal match. Their best finishes this season have been a third in Sanya, China, and a fourth in Gstaad, Switzerland, two weeks ago.
In the first semifinal of the evening, Brazil’s Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado hung on to defeat Spain’s fifth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, 21-19, 21-19 in 43 minutes. The Salgados are now 2-1 all-time against Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez. The Salgados, who lost in the second round and had to battle back through the contender’s bracket, are playing in their 97th career FIVB Swatch World Tour event, their 13th final four and their second gold medal match.
Brazil’s Cunha/Lima, who are playing their 16th world tour tournament together and are in their third final four, and Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez, the first women’s team from their country to earn a final four spot in world tour history, will meet in the bronze medal match on the Quebec center court prior to the men’s bronze medal match.
The Salgados advanced to the semifinals by winning two contender bracket matches earlier on Saturday. First they defeated a team from host country Canada and then winning by injury forfeit over a team from Australia.
“We have been having a tough season and the pressure of Olympic qualifying has been getting to us,” said Antonelli, who has won six FIVB gold medals with Antunes and have two final four finishes. “Talita and I have been a team since 2009 and we are playing better but this is our first final this year. We have six fifth place finishes, one ninth, one fourth and one bronze. We have four teams in Brazil that can win medals and we haven’t had good results so far this season.”
“It’s very hard on everyone to be on the road this long, but I’m happy to be in Quebec and this event has been a great one with a really good organization so I know players will be talking about it and will want to come back next year. As for playing the Salgados in the final, we have played them a lot and we can beat them, but they are a very good team. We have had trouble this season more with our heads than anything else. We have a lot of pressure on us during this Olympic qualifying process and we have to relax our minds to win more.”
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. The last team to be eliminated was in the women’s competition, where Canada’s 10th-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney finished with a fifth place finish after losing their final match Saturday to Brazil’s Salgado sisters, 21-17, 21-15 in 38 minutes.
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 is 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 is 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.