Quebec City, Canada, July 23, 2011 - Working diligently through the competition to the delight of supportive throngs of fans at a Canadian festival on the Quebec center court, two teams from the United States grinded out semifinal match victories Saturday to advance to Sunday afternoon’s internationally-televised men’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 for the Canadian men’s gold medal as the United States has three teams in the final four for only the second time and first since 1991 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the FIVB Swatch World Tour, will be USA’s top seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and seventh-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena. It will be the 12th time in the history of the FIVB Swatch World Tour that there has been an All-American gold medal finale. The last time this happened was in Klagenfurt, Austria, on Aug. 1, 2010 when the same two teams met and Dalhausser/Rogers won in two sets.
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 is 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-American first semifinal, USA’s Fuerbringer/Lucena defeated compatriots and fifth-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal in straight sets, 21-17, 21-14 in 37 minutes. In their team competition, Fuerbringer/Lucena are now 2-0 against Gibb/Rosenthal. Fuerbringer/Lucena, playing in their 18th career FIVB Swatch World Tour event, are making their third final four appearance and second gold medal match. Playing this entire season so far, Fuerbringer/Lucena have no finish before this year higher than two fifth place finishes to open the season. Since then, they have struggled with two 25th-place finishes, two ninths and two 17ths.
In the last semifinal of the evening played before another Quebec center court full house of nearly 5,000 enthusiastic fans, USA’s top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers played at a consistently high level to defeat Brazil’s 29th-seeded Alvaro Filho/Moises Santos, 21-15, 21-18 in 39 minutes. Dalhausser/Rogers, 5-0 in Quebec, are playing their 46th FIVB Swatch World Tour event together and are playing in their 35th final four and their 26th career FIVB gold medal match. As a team, Dalhausser/Rogers have won 19 FIVB gold medals.
Brazil’s Filho/Santos, playing in their first FIVB Swatch World Tour event together, and Gibb/Rosenthal, who are playing in their 46th world tour event together and are in the final four for the eighth time, will meet in the bronze medal match on the Quebec center court prior to the men’s bronze medal match. Filho, just 20, is playing in his first world tour event after winning the silver medal each of the last two year’s with Vitor Felipe at the FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships for players under 21 years old.
After a shaking start in the first set of their semifinal, Dalhausser/Rogers regained control and steadily pulled away. In the second set, the kept the momentum but the energetic Brazilians hung in the battle until the finish.
“They certainly didn’t play like they were tired and for a first world tour event as a team and a first world tour event period for Filho, they have done a tremendous job and my hat’s off to them,” said Rogers afterwards. “Other than the start when I got blocked, aced and dug, we felt good and got control and kept it. I wasn’t hitting hard ones very well but my chops were effective and occasionally I landed a hard one to keep them honest. Now we get to play some more old friends in Fuerbringer/Lucena who haven’t played that much together and can be up and down, but when they are up, they can beat anyone in the world, anyone.”
USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal started the day with a contender’s bracket quarterfinal win over Sweden’s 21st-seeded Hannes Brinkborg/Stefan Gunnarsson, 21-19, 21-18 in 43 minutes to advance to the semifinals against their compatriots, Fuerbringer/Lucena.
Filho/Santos played three times on Saturday, including the semifinal loss to Dalhausser/Rogers. In their earlier matches Saturday, Filho/Santos defeated Brazil’s eighth-seeded Thiago Santos Barbosa/Harley Marques, 21-14, 18-21 and 15-12 in 52 minutes and then in another three-setter in the contender’s bracket quarterfinals, the scrappy Brazilians defeated Latvia’s sixth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslands Sorokins, 24-23, 19-21 and 15-13 in 59 minutes.
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. The highest-finishing men’s team was 28th-seeded Maverick Hatch/Sam Schachter, who ended their successful tournament on Friday with a ninth-place finish. Hatch/Schachter were playing in their first FIVB Swatch World Tour event and Schachter won the 2010 FIVB Swatch Junior World Championship with Garrett May.
The FIVB Swatch World Tour previously had tournaments in Canada in Toronto (three from 1998-2000) and Montreal (four from 2002-2007). A total of 97 teams from 29 countries have have been competing in the FIVB Swatch Québec Open Jeep 2011.
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.