Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 28, 2011 – After Thursday’s final round of pool play and the first round of single-elimination bracket play at the Hotel Anders venue, 16 women’s teams were eliminated and 16 women’s duos advance to continue playing Friday at the $600,000 FIVB Swatch Mazury Orlen Grand Slam Stare Jablonki 2011.
The world’s best beach volleyball tandems are back in Poland as the double-gender event marks the eighth consecutive visit by the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch world tour with Stare Jablonki hosting seven previous men’s events and three previous women’s events. This is also the second year it has been a grand slam instead of an open event. Overall, this is the 10th men’s event held in Poland (Myslowice hosted in 2009, 2010), and eighth women’s event held in Poland (Myslowice hosted in 2008 and this year and Warsaw in 2006, 2007).
Hotel Anders resort and spa in the Mazury region of northeast Poland has hosted this event since in began in 2004. Stare Jablonki is a village of just 750 permanent residents that swells to over 30,000 for the week of this event and the Mazury region is known throughout Europe for having more than 1,000 lakes. The smallest population area the FIVB Swatch World Tour visits every year, the Hotel Anders event has a history of drawing among the largest of all crowds annually on the tour.
With the eight pool winners receiving a bye in the first round of elimination, the winners of Thursday’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 Hotel Anders center court.
Winning their respective pools were three teams from Brazil and two from the United States along with one each from China, Germany and the Netherlands.
In the first round of the single-elimination bracket played early Thursday evening involving the other 16 teams that advanced from the two days and three matches of pool play, teams from seven countries all won to advance to Friday’s round of 16. Joining the pool winners will be two teams from Germany and single teams from Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the United States.
In Thursday’s first round of elimination matches, Italy’s sixth-seeded Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti eliminated Poland’s Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska, 21-18, 21-16 in 34 minutes, Brazil’s 30th-seeded Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira defeated Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, 21-18, 21-16 in 43 minutes, Germany’s 12th-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler held on to win over China’s 20th-seeded Ying Huang/Yuan Yue, 23-21, 24-22 in 40 minutes and Czech Republic’s 16th-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova beat Poland’s ninth-seeded Karolina Sowala/Katarzyna Urban, 21-11, 21-11 in 29 minutes.
In the second four first round elimination matches, Canada’s 24th-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney overcame Brazil’s 27th-seeded Priscilla Lese Lima/Renata Martins Ribeiro, 21-18, 16-21 and 15-8 in 50 minutes, in an all-USA match-up, 10th-seeded Angie Akers/Nicole Branagh upended 17th-seeded compatriots Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson, 21-19, 21-16 in 36 minutes, Spain’s 13th-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez toppled Greece’s 18th-seeded Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, 21-13, 21-10 in 29 minutes, and in and all-German elimination match 21st-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe outlasted 23rd-seeded Jana Kohler/Julia Sude, 22-20, 18-21 and 15-13 in 56 minutes, the longest women’s match of the day.
The eight teams that lost in the first women’s elimination bracket round Thursday finished tied for 17th in Stare Jablonki and each will split $5,100 in prize money. The eight teams eliminated in pool play each finished tied for 25th in the tournament and leave Poland with $3,500 per team.
The sixth of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam, the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday. Silver medalists will split $29,500 while bronze medal winners will divide $23,000 and the fourth place finishing teams will each receive $18,400.
Winning their pools, and earning the first round single-elimination bracket round byes with the opening match Friday against the winners of the late Thursday matches between the other 16 teams that qualified for the final rounds are Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, USA’s second-seeded Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, China’s third-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, Brazil’s fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, USA’s fifth-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, Brazil’s 11th-seeded sisters Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado, Germany’s seventh-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig and Netherland’s eighth-seeded Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel.
All but Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes and USA’s Kessy/Ross were undefeated at 3-0 in their respective pools while the latter two teams won via tie breakers with 2-1 records. USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh, China’s Xue/Zhang and Brazil’s Salgado sisters were the only teams who won their pools without losing a set, each going 6-0 in sets in pool play along with their 3-0 records so far in Stare Jablonki.
In Friday’s round of 16 matchups, it will be Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa vs. Germany’s Borger/Buthe, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh vs. Italy’s Cicolari/Menegatti, China’s Xue/Zhang vs. Canada’s Bansley/Maloney, Brazil’s Antonelli/Antunes vs. Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova, USA’s Kessy/Ross vs. Brazil’s Maestrini/Vieira, Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado vs. Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler, Germany’s Goller/Ludwig vs. USA’s Akers/Branagh and Netherland’s Keizer/Van Iersel vs. Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez.
The 32 teams in the main draw were split into eight pools of four teams each playing three round-robin matches and the top three finishers in each advanced to the single-elimination bracket rounds.
Host country Poland had two of three women’s teams advance from pool play with 1-2 records but both Sowala/Urban and Kolosinka/Brzostek were eliminated early Thursday evening and end the tournament with 17th-place finishes.
In their final pool play match Thursday, Brazil’s defending Mazury Orlen Grand Slam gold medal winners Juliana/Larissa had a tough three-set win over Czech Republic’s 16th-seeded Kistyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, 21-18, 13-21, 15-11 in 46 minutes. Juliana/Larissa increased their world tour season record to 49-7.
USA’s two-time Olympic champions May-Treanor/Walsh ended their near perfect pool play by defeating Switzerland’s 15th-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, 221-18, 21-14 in 33 minutes. China’s Xue/Zhang won their final pool play match Thursday with a 21-9, 21-10 win in just 25 minutes over Czech Republic’s 14th-seeded Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova.
Brazil’s Salgado sisters finished their strong pool play effort upsetting Italy’s sixth-seeded Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, 21-14, 21-11 in 32 minutes.
USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh increased their season record to 40-8 with the twin wins, China’s Xue/Zhang are 43-13 and the Salgado sisters mov to Friday’s round of 16 with a 34-21 season record.
The talented field this year includes the entire final four finishers from both genders from last year as well as at least one member of the men’s gold medal teams in Stare Jablonki and the last two women’s gold medal winners. Six of the men’s gold medal teams 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 China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang bronze to Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes and fourth place to Austria’s Barbara Hansel/Sara Montagnolli.
Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa also won the Stare Jablonki gold medal in 2009.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Stare Jablonki were USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (gold), Germany’s Julius Brink/Jonasa Reckermann (Silver), Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos (Bronze) and Germany’s David Klemperer/Eric Koreng (fourth place).
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 $600,000 FIVB Swatch Mazury Orlen Grand Slam Stare Jablonki 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour has its last of six 2011 Grand Slam double-gender events in Klagenfurt, Austria (A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank Klagenfurt 2011). Each grand slam had $600,000 purses and the other major event this year, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Championships in Rome had a $1 million total purse.
The $600,000 FIVB Swatch Mazury Orlen Grand Slam Stare Jablonki 2011 is the 228th women’s event and 267th 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 at the Hotel Anders this week 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.worldtour.pl.