Brasília, Brazil, April 17, 2012—When the sand settled following Tuesday’s first day of the women’s main draw competition, eight teams remain undefeated in the double-elimination 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.
Leading the victory parade through two winner’s bracket rounds Tuesday were USA’s two-time Olympic Champions Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh and Brazil’s reigning FIVB SWATCH World Tour and FIVB SWATCH World Champions Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca. USA. Five countries advanced teams with 2-0 records led by three from Brazil and two from the United States. May-Treanor/Walsh and Juliana/Larissa are also the top two seeds in the tournament.
Also undefeated are teams from China, Germany and Italy as the top seven seeds as well as number nine won twice on Tuesday to advance to Wednesday’s third round of the winner’s bracket.. With one loss each and still playing in the consolation bracket of the 32-team tournament are 16 additional teams as eight teams were eliminated in the first day of play in the women’s main draw.
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.
In addition to May-Treanor/Walsh, USA’s other unbeaten team Tuesday was fifth-seeded April Ross/Jennifer Kessy while joining Juliana/Larissa, the other two undefeated Brazilian tandems are fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes and sixth-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima.
Also winning twice Tuesday were China’s third-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, Germany’s ninth-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig and Italy’s seventh-seeded Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti.
Last year’s silver medalists in this event, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh opened the day by Great Britain’s 32nd-seeded Lucy Boulton/Dennis Johns, 21-18, 21-12 in 30 minutes and completed their day with another two-set win, beating Canada’s 17th-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney, 22-20 and 21-13.
“It’s very exciting start the FIVB SWATCH World Tour with a victory in Brazil and especially in an Olympic Year”, commented USA’s Walsh. “These first games were not perfect for us. We had some not so good moments but also did good moves. But we were exciting. We had great pre-season of training this year which is really helping us. We made some chances in our game, looking of more rhythm. Beach volleyball is a dance and we didn’t dance so good last year. And in Brazil we need to dance well. We know it´s a difficult tournament, with great teams. Tomorrow we will have even harder matches and we expect to face Juliana and Larissa again in the final. I love the sun and everything about Brazil.”
For Juliana/Larissa, who defeated May-Treanor/Walsh in three sets in last year’s gold medal match here, the talented Brazilians started this year’s tournament with tighter matches than their American rivals. First Juliana/Larissa defeated Netherlands 31st-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel, 25-23, 21-18 in 41 minutes before holding off their 18th-seeded Brazilian compatriots Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira, 24-22, 14-21 and 15-6 in 52 minutes.
“Today is a day to be forgotten, we didn’t play very well, mainly me,” reflected Juliana. “During the second match I didn’t block anything, which isn’t normal. Anyway to begin the tournament with two victories is always very good. Because Brasilia hosts the first leg of the season, the tournament has a special zest. It is the one that reunites us with the climate of international competition and we’ve never lost in this tournament.”
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 also the 14th time that the FIVB SWATCH World Tour will have its season-opening event in Brazil. This is also the fourth consecutive year the tour has come to Brasília.
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.
The men’s qualification tournament will be played Wednesday. 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 internationally-televised medal matches for women will be held Friday and for men on Sunday.
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 is one 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.