Klagenfurt, Austria, August 5, 2011 – While the fire hoses helped calm the frenzy of the heated fans in the standing-room-only Klagenfurt center court stadium, Friday’s action on the sand court never cooled off as 16 of the original 32 main draw men’s teams are still standing tall and anxiously awaiting the round of 16 and quarterfinals Saturday as the week-long $600,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank winds down to its final two days of fun in the sun on this weekend in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.
The world’s best beach volleyball tandems are back in Austria as the double-gender event marks the 15th consecutive visit by the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour with Klagenfurt hosting 14 previous men’s events and 10 previous women’s events. In 2001 Klagenfurt hosted the FIVB Swatch World Championships and has hosted a grand slam every year since 2002.
With the eight pool winners receiving a bye in the first round of elimination, the winners of Friday’s first round will meet the eight pool winners in the round of 16 Saturday morning followed by the quarterfinals to determine the men’s final four. Also on Saturday will be the women’s semifinals and medal matches. On Sunday, the internationally televised men’s semifinals and medal matches will be played o=in the Klagenfurt center court stadium.
One of the most popular events of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB Swatch World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue features a fan-friendly purpose-built 8,000-seat Klagenfurt center court stadium and massive two-story VIP hospitality area alongside the shore of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in southern Austria and is known as one of Austria’s top summer holiday destinations.
In the first round of elimination matches played early evening Friday involving the other 16 teams that advanced from the two days of pool play, were teams from 11 countries, including three from Germany and two each from Austria, Brazil, and the United States along one each from Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. The eight teams from eight countries who won first round elimination matches Friday were from Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.
In Friday’s first round of elimination matches played early evening involving the other 16 teams, in the all-American elimination match, USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers beat USA eighth-seeded compatriots Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, 23-21, 21-19 in 49 minutes, Czech Republic’s 19th-seeded Petr Benes/Premsyl Kubala defeated Netherland’s 29th-seeded Emiel Boersma/Daan Spijkers 21-19, 21-19 in 44 minutes, Norway’s 21st-seeded Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr came back in three sets to overcome Germany’s 11th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, 21-15, 21-23 and 16-14 in 55 minutes and Brazil’s fourth-seeded Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos eliminated Austria’s 10th-seeded Clemens Doppler/Matthias Mellitzer, 21-11, 20-22 and 15-11 in 58 minutes
In the other four first round elimination matches Friday, Germany’s third-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann disappointed the home country fans in sweeping Austria’s 32nd-seeded Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl, 21-14, 21-18 in 40 minutes, Italy’s 16th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai eliminated Latvia’s 22nd-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilous/Ruslans Sorokins, 21-18, 21-11 in just 29 minutes, Kazakhstan’s 26th-seeded Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko came from behind to upset Brazil’s 18th-seeded Thiago Barbosa/Harley Marques, 14-21, 21-17 and 15-11 in 49 minutes and Switzerland’s 25th-seeded Sebastian Chevallier/Sascha Heyer stayed the course to come back and win against Germany’s 12th-seeded David Klemperer/Eric Koreng, 20-22, 21-19 and 18-16 in 63 minutes, the longest match of the round.
The eight teams that lost in the first men’s elimination bracket round Friday finished tied for 17th in Klagenfurt 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 Austria with $3,500 per team.
The last of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank in Klagenfurt, the women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. 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 are Brazil’s top-seed Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego, USA’s 15th-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena, Brazil’s 14th-seeded Joao Maciel/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Latvia’s 20th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Marcio Araujo/Benjamin Insfran, Georgia’s 27th-seeded Renato Gomes/Jorge Terceiro, Switzerland’s seventh-seeded Jefferson Bellaguarda/Patrick Heuscher and USA’s 24th-seeded Casey Jennings/Kevin Wong.
The five pool winners who won all three of their matches were Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel, Brazil’s Maciel/Schmidt, Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins, Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Benjamin and USA’s Jennings/Wong while the other three were 2-1 and won their pools by tiebreakers. Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Benjamin duo was the only tandem to not lose a set in pool play, going 6-0 in sets.
In Saturday’s round of 16 matchups, it will be Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel vs. Brazil’s Cunha/Ricardo, USA’s Fuerbringer/Lucena vs. Switzerland’s Chevallier/Heyer, Brazil’s Maciel/Schmidt vs. Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai, Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins vs. Norway’s Skarlund/Spinnangr, Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Benjamin Insfran vs. USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, Georgia’s 27th-seeded Gomes/Terceiro vs. Czech Republic’s Benes/Kubala, Switzerland’s Bellaguarda/Heuscher vs. Germany’s Brink/Reckermann, and USA’s Jennings/Wong vs. Kazakhstan’s Dyachenko/Sidorenko.
Winners of the last two FIVB Swatch World Tour event gold medals, USA’s Olympic champions Dalhausser/Rogers had to play their first round elimination match against a long-time friend and rival team also from the USA in Gibb/Rosenthal. Knowing each other so well on and off the court, Dalhausser/Rogers have now played each other professional overall on the beach 58 times with Dalhausser/Rogers holding a 46-12 series edge. In the FIVB Swatch World Tour, Dalhausser/Rogers increased their lead in the friendly all-American rivalry to 13-5.
“It never seems to fail that no matter what we do in pool play we end up playing each other,” said Rogers as he and Rosenthal visited on a player’s dock on the lake after their match. “This was our fourth time playing each other this year but it feels like our hundredth. We have won all four meetings this year and last year we beat them here in Klagenfurt in pool play.”
With the very involved, flag-waving packed house at the Klagenfurt center court stadium, cheered wildly for their teams, win or lose, but two men’s team, Austria’s Doppler/Mellitzer and Huber/Seidl did advance out of pool play to the elimination rounds where they both were defeated in the first round to place 17th in the tournament.
The talented field 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 Klagenfurt 12 of the previous 14 years and seven of the previous women’s gold medal winners. Three of the men’s gold medal teams are playing with new teammates at the extremely popular event and venue.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Klagenfurt were USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (gold), USA’s Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena (Silver), Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego (bronze), Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos (fourth place).
Brazil’s Emanuel Rego has won six times with three different partners in Klagenfurt and this year Emanuel is playing with Alison Cerutti. The amazing Emanuel won here the first four years of the tournament, starting in 1997 with Ze Marco de Melo and the next three years (1998, 1999 and 2000) with Jose Loiola. Emanuel’s next two wins were both with Ricardo Santos (2004 and 2007).
While Ze Marco and Loiola are retired, Ricardo is paired for the second straight event this season with Pedro Cunha. Besides last year, USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers won in Klagenfurt in 2009 and 2006. Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Benjamin Insfran, are back in their second FIVB Swatch World Tour event as team again, having won the gold medal in Klagenfurt in 2003 in the midst of their first partnership of over nine years. Russia’s Dmitri Barsouk won this event win in 2008 with Igor Kolodinsky but this year he has been teamed with Yury Bogatov.
In last year’s women’s competition, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca won gold, with silver going to Brazil’s Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima, the bronze was won by Germany’s Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig and fourth place to Austria’s own Barbara Hansel/Sara Montagnolli. This year all but Cunha/Lima are still playing as last year’s silver medalists were eliminated in a country quota playoff match on Monday.
Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa also won the Klagenfurt gold medal in 2009. The other Klagenfurt gold medal team back this year is USA’s two-time Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh who struck gold here together four times (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and Walsh also won here in 2004 with Rachel Wacholder.
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 A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank, the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour takes a week off for the 24-team women’s only Olympic test event in London’s Horse Guard’s Parade. Following that event, Europe hosts the final two double-gender open events of 2011 in Aland, Finland from August 15-21 and The Hague, Netherlands from August 23-28. The FIVB will then present the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships for players under 21 years old, August 31-September 4 in Halifax, Canada.
The $600,000 FIVB A1 Grand Slam presented by Volksbank is the 229th women’s event and 268th 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 Klagenfurt venue 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.beachvolleyball.at.