Brasília, Brazil, April 16, 2012—Following three rounds of qualification tournament matches, women’s teams from Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Netherlands advanced the final eight teams to Tuesday’s start of the main draw tournament at the US$380,000 Brasília Open, the season-opening event of the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour which is being held in the capital city of Brazil.
The Netherlands advanced two teams to complete the 32-team field in the women’s main draw tournament while the other countries each have one more team in the main draw. Moving forward from the Netherlands are Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel (13th-seeded qualification team) and Merel Mooren/Jantine van der Vlist (Q10). The additional six teams advancing are Brazil’s Raquel Pelluci/Maria Clara Salgado (Q1), Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe (Q6), Great Britain’s Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns (Q18), Italy’s Daniela Gioria/Giulia Momoli (Q3), Japan’s Takemi Nishibori/Satoko Urata (Q12), Mexico’s Bibiana Candelas/Mayra Garcia (Q8).
With the season-opening event on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour calendar in Brazil, The road to the 2012 London Olympic Games has resumed as 16 of the 24 teams in each gender will be determined through year-long Olympic rankings through the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. This will be the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 world tour schedule. Beach Volleyball at the London Olympic Games will run from July 28 to August 9.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first FIVB-sanctioned event (Rio de Janeiro in 1987), the international beach volleyball circuit begins for the fourth consecutive season with the US$380,000 Brasília Open will be held through Sunday on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1 as the Brazilian capital is celebrating its 52nd anniversary on Saturday. The tournament is the first of nine double-gender events on the 2012 schedule.
Netherland’s two advancing teams both looked strong in Monday’s qualifier. Meppelink/van Gestel With both teams receiving first-round byes they both won their second and third round matches in two sets. Meppelink/van Gestel defeated teams from Russia and Georgia while .Mooren/van der Vlist dispatched teams from Norway and China.
“It's always good move forward to the main drawn of the tournament and face great teams,” said Netherlands’ van Gestel, who is transitioning into the pro ranks after earning three youth and junior world championship medals in the past several years. “Our team is new. We formed last July and played only four rounds of the FIVB SWATCH Beach Volleyball World Tour. We are developing our game, increasing the connection and our communication in the court. This was the main difficulty for us in the beginning. Now we are starting to feel more comfortable as a team. We understand each other and use our strong attack which is our best weapon.”
With four teams already pre-seeded into the main draw, Brazil’s Pelluci/Salgado give the host country five teams following their qualifying wins over teams from Columbia and Poland. Brazil’s three other teams in the qualification tournament were all eliminated.
“It is my first time to make a FIVB SWATCH World Tour main draw so I am very happy with this day,” said Brazil’s Pelluci following her team’s final match Monday: “We got two victories and a lot of hope to go forward. The atmosphere and the opponents are new for me. I am very fortunate and it is a fantastic opportunity to have a partner like Maria Clara. Despite being younger than me she is very experienced and gives me a lot of confidence in my bad moments. In the first match I was very reckless but then in the second one I blocked better to help the team.”
Monday’s very busy women’s qualification tournament ended with a single center court match that saw Great Britain’s 18th-seeded Lucy Boulton/Denise Johns come from behind to stun USA’s second-seeded Angie Akers/Brittany Hochevar in three sets, in the largest seed break-through of the day. Boulton/Johns lost the first set 13-21, won the second 21-14. In the deciding third set, they jumped out to leads of 11-6 and 14-9 before ending their victory at 15-11 in 43 minutes..
Brazil has staged a FIVB SWATCH World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1989 and women in 1992. This will be the 34th men’s event and 29th women’s tournament on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour held in Brazil. It is the 14th time that the FIVB SWATCH World Tour will have its season-opening event in Brazil.
The capital city of the South American country has welcomed 135 men and women’s teams from 35 countries. This event is the 272nd men’s and 233rd women’s competition in the history of the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. Two-time returning defending men’s champions in Brazil are Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States and the three-time defending women’s champions here are Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca of Brazil. All six medal-winning teams from 2011 have returned to Brazil this year.
The men’s Country Quota playoffs and qualification tournament will be played Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The men’s main draw rounds start Thursday for men. The gold medal teams in each gender in the Brasília Open will each split $30,000, the silver $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and fourth place $11,200. The women’s medal matches will be held Friday and the men’s medal matches will be played next Sunday.