Klagenfurt, Austria, July 20, 2012—While the fire hoses helped calm the frenzy of the heated fans in the standing-room-only Klagenfurt stadium, Friday’s action on the sand court never cooled off as 16 of the original 32 men’s main draw teams are still standing tall an anxiously awaiting the round of 16 and the quarterfinals Saturday as the week-long $600,000 A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO winds down to its final two days of fun in the sun this weekend in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee. On Friday, the last of three rounds of round-robin pool play along with the first round of single-elimination bracket play were held.
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 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 on the Klagenfurt stadium center court.
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.
Emerging from Friday’s first round of elimination matches played late Friday afternoon with victories were teams from Brazil, China, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the United States.
In the first elimination round, Brazil’s seventh-seeded Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado held off Kazakhstan’s 19th-seeded Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko in two overtime sets, 24-22, 23-21 in 49 minutes, Latvia’s 16th-seeded Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins silenced the friendly-but-partisan standing room only crowd on the Klagenfurt stadium center court to defeat Austria’s ninth-seeded Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl, 21-13, 22-20 in 42 minutes, Poland’s 15th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel stopped Netherland’s 14th-seeded Emiel Boersma/Daan Spijkers, 21-11, 21-14 in 36 minutes and Italy’s 11th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai eliminated Latvia’s fifth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins, 21-16, 21-17 in 39 minutes.
In the other four first round elimination matches Friday, USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal eliminated Switzerland’s 22nd-seeded Martin Laciga/Jonas Weingart, 21-14, 21-15 in 33 minutes, Netherland’s Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst defeated Norway’s 29th-seeded Geir Eithun/Iver Horrem, 21-16, 21-15 in 37 minutes, China’s 21st-seeded Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu held off the challenge by Russia’s 24th-seeded Dmitri Barsouk/Yury Bogatov, 23-21, 20-22 and 15-12 in 56 minutes, the longest match of the first elimination round Friday. In the final match of the day on the packed Klagenfurt stadium center court, Switzerland’s 23rd-seeded Sebastian Chevalliet/Sasha Heyer upset USA’s 13th-seeded Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena, 21-18, 21-18 in 40 minutes.
The seventh of a 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, continued with the single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the women’s 32-team main draw pool play 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 and the men’s competition finishing on Wednesday. Silver medalists will split $29,500 while bronze medal winners will divide $23,000 and the four place teams in each gender will each receive $18,400.
Winning their pools and earning the first round single-elimination round byes are Germany’s 17th-seeded Sebastian Dollinger/Stefan Windscheif, USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, Brazil’s third-seeded Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos, Brazil’s fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Germany’s 12th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, Germany’s sixth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, Netherlands’ 26th-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen and Netherlands’ eighth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil. All pool winners except Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil (2-1) were all 3-0 in round-robin play.
The only pool winnes who won all three of their matches without losing a set, going 6-0 in sets was Brazil’s Benjamin/Schmidt.
In Saturday’s round of 16 matchups, it will be USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers vs. Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai, Brazil’s Cunha/Ricardo vs. Netherlands’ Stiekema/Varenhorst, Brazil’s Benjamin/Schmidt vs. Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado, Germany’s Brink/Reckermann vs. Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins, Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Schuil vs. Switzerland’s Chevallier/Heyer, Germany’s Erdmann/Matysik vs. Poland’s Filalek/Prudel, Germany’s Dollinger/Windschief vs. China’s Xu/Wu and Netherlands’ Brouwer/Meeuwsen vs. USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal.
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 traditional amounts for an FIVB grand slam event.
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 were in this year’s field in Klagenfurt as well where they won the gold medal in both 2009 and 2010 and the silver in 2006, however, they were eliminate in the quarterfinals by their Breazilian compatriots Antonelli/Antunes.
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) started 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.