Klagenfurt, Austria, July 19, 2012—Following Thursday’s last of three rounds of pool play and the first round of single-elimination bracket play, 16 women’s teams were eliminated and 16 tandems advance to continue playing Friday at the $600,000 A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.
Winning their respective pools on Thursday were two teams each from Brazil and the Netherlands along with one each from China, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems have returned to Austria as the double-gender event marks the 16th consecutive visit by the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour with Klagenfurt hosting 15 men’s and 11 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 Thursday’s first round will meet the eight pool winners in the round of 16 Friday morning, 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 Klagenfurt stadium center court which has seen two days of overflow crowds so far.
One of the most popular events of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue features a purpose-built 8,000-seat stadium center court and massive two-story VIP hospitality area and private dock along with another private players dock alongside the short of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in Southern Austria.
In the first round of the single-elimination bracket played Thursday afternoon involving the other 16 teams that advanced from the two days and three pool play matches, teams from six countries all won to advance to Friday’s round of 16. Joining the pool winners will be two teams from Australia and Brazil along with single teams from Czech Republic, Germany, Russia and Spain.
In Thursday’s first round of elimination matches, Australia’s 11th-seeded Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley upset Switzerland’s fourth-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, 21-15, 21-15 in 35 minutes, Brazil’s 23rd-seeded Vivian Cunha/Taiana Lima upended Germany’s 18th-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, 21-15, 21-16 in 35 minutes, Germany’s seventh-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig eliminated USA’s 20th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson, 21-19, 21-15 in 39 minutes, and Russia’s 28th-seeded Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgenia Ukolova beat Germany’s 15th-seeded Jana Kohler/Anni Schumacher, 21-15, 21-17 in 34 minutes.
In the second four first round elimination matches, Czech Republic’s 19th-seeded Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova defeated Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Romana Kayser, 21-15, 21-8 in 29 minutes, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes came from behind to defeat Austria’s ninth-seeded popular home-country tandem Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger, 26-28, 21-17 and 15-12 in 59 minutes, the longest match of the women’s tournament so far, Spain’s 17th-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez elimintated Greece’s 14th-seeded Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, 21-18, 21-13 in 32 minutes and in a three-set match to end the day for women’s play, Australia’s eighth-seeded Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer held off Canada’s 22nd-seeded Heather Bansley/Elizabeth Maloney, 21-17, 18-21 and 15-12 in 10 minutes.
The eight teams that lost in the first women’s elimination bracket round Thursday finished tied for 17th in Klagenfurt and each will split $5,100 in prize money. The eight teams eliminated in pool play each finished 25th in the tournament and leave Austria with $3,500 per team.
Winning their pools and earning the first round single-elimination byes with the opening match Friday against the winners of Thursday afternoons late matches between the other 16 teams that qualified for the final rounds are China’s top-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang (Pool A), Brazil’s second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca (Pool B), Netherlands’ third-seeded Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel (Pool C), Netherland’s 13th-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel (Pool D), Brazil’s 21st-seeded qualification and country quota survivor Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira (Pool E), Czech Republic’s sixth-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova (Pool F), Finland’s 26th-seeded sisters Emilia Nystrom/Erika Nystrom (Pool G) and Switzerland’s 25th-seeded qualification team Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre (Pool H). China’s Xue/Zhang and Brazil’s Maestrini/Vieira all won three of their matches without losing a set, each going 6-0 for pool play.
In the round of 16 match-ups for Friday morning it will be China’s Xue/Zhang vs. Australia’s Bawden/Palmer, Finland’s Nystrom/Nystrom vs. Spain’s Baquerizo/Fernandez, Brazil’s Maestrini/Vieira vs. Australia’s Cook/Hinchley, Netherland’s Meppelink/van Gestel vs. Brazill’s Cunha/Lima, Netherland’s Keizer/Van Iersel vs. Germany’s Goller/Ludwig, Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova vs. Russia’s Khomyakova/Ukolova, Switzerland’s Forrer/Verge-Depre vs. Czech Republic’s Hajeckova/Klapalova and in an all-Brazilian matchup, Juliana/Larissa vs. Antonelli/Antunes. Brazil leads the way with four total teams in the round of 16.
The seventh of an FIVB-record eight grand slams on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour schedule, the A1 Grand Slam began with women’s country quota matches on Monday and continued with the single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw pool play which runs on Wednesday and Thursday and single-elimination bracket Thursday afternoon through Friday. 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. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, starting one day later with country quota matches on Tuesday. Silver medalists will split $29,500 while bronze medal winners will divide $23,000 and the fourth place finishing teams in each gender will receive $18,400.
The talented field includes the three of the final four finishers in the women’s competition from last year and all four of the men’s final four from last year’s A1 Grand Slam in Klagenfurt. Returning from last year’s women’s competition are China’s silver medalists Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, Netherland’s bronze medalists Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel and Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes who finished fourth last year for the third consecutive year. Brazil’s reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca are entered this year in Klagenfurt as well where they won the gold medal in both 2009 and 2010 and the silver in 2006.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Kalgenfurt, who are all entered this year with one player switching partners are Brazil’s Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos (gold), Germany’s Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann (silver), USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (bronze) and fourth place was Brazil’s Joao Maciel/Bruno Oscar Schmidt although this year Schmidt is playing with Benjamin Insfran, who won this event in 2003 in Marcio Araujo.
A total of 155 teams from 37 countries (89 men’s teams from 30 countries and 66 women’s teams from 24 countries) have entered the A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO (as of July 15, 2012), including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States, and Venezuela.
The 2012 calendar features 13 women's and 12 men's events, including nine double-gender tournaments, within four of the five FIVB confederations in addition to the approaching 2012 London Olympic Games on July 28 to August 9 in a purpose-built 15,000 stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade. The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is offering $6,110-million in prize money.
After the 2012 London Olympic Games, the 2012 FIVB Swatch World Tour returns to action with the eighth and final grand slam double-gender event August 13-19 with the Mazury Orlen Grand Slam in Stare Jablonki, Poland. The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The A1 Grand Slam is the 241st women’s event and 281st men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill) schedule. 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.
Also on-site this week at the Klagenfurt venue is a special production crew from IMG, the company that not only produces the live international telecasts of the medal matches, but also the weekly FIVB SWATCH World Tour highlight show that is syndicated throughout the world.
For more information on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour or the event, please visit www.fivb.org. For additional information on the A1 Grand Slam, please visit the event website at www.beachvolleyball.at.