Klagenfurt, Austria, July 21, 2012—After basking in the sunshine of an Austrian summer for five days, a continuing rainstorm poured buckets upon buckets Saturday for the entire day, immersing the six courts at the Klagenfurt venue with large amounts of water and even though for the first time in the 16-year history of the event that the stadium center court was determined to be unplayable because of the impact of the lengthy rain, men’s competition continued as four teams emerged from the clouds and the sheets of rain to earn final four spots in Sunday’s semifinals and medal matches as the week-long $600,000 A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO winds down to its final day in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.
Under gloomy skies, winning the rain-soaked quarterfinal matches early Saturday evening on the side courts of the Klagenfurt venue were Brazil’s seventh-seeded Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado, Netherland’s eighth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil, USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal and USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers.
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. The rainstorm and its impact on the Klagenfurt stadium center court forced FIVB and tournament officials to change the women’s schedule to hold the semifinals late Saturday afternoon and the medal matches on Sunday along with the men instead of the women completing play on Saturday.
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.
The matchups for Sunday morning’s men’s semifinals will have Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil vs. USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal and the other semifinal will feature Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado vs. USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers.
Previewing the semifinal matchups, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil have a 4-2 won-loss record over USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour and Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado and USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers have only met twice with the Americans holding a 2-0 edge in the series between the teams.
For the season, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil are 32-16 and are playing in their 68th FIVB SWATCH World Tour event and have earned a spot in the final four for the 20th time, Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado are 37-18 overall including 2-0 in qualification tournaments and 2-1 in country quota matches while playing in just their 10th tournament as a team and this is their fourth final four appearance. USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal are 47-16 in their 61st world tour event together having earned their 14th final four spot and USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers 43-8 this season and this is their 56th tournament together on the world tour and their 43rd final four appearance.
In Saturday’s late afternoon quarterfinals on the drenched side courts as the rain eased up in Klagenfurt, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil won by forfeit over China’s 21st-seeded Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu, Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado came from behind and then outlasted Germany’s sixth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, 21-23, 21-17 and 24-22 in one hour, nine minutes, USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal struggled through the longest set score of the tournament and held off Brazil’s third-seeded Pedro Cunha/Richardo Santos, 37-35, 17-21 and 15-12 in one hour, 16 minutes the longest match of the tournament and USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers eliminated Germany’s 12th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik in two sets, 21-19, 21-13 in 42 minutes.
In quarterfinal matches that featured eight teams heading to London next week to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil now have an 8-8 record against China’s Wu/Xu, Brazil’s Marcio/Salgado just won their first meeting with Germany’s Brink/Reckermann, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal are now 3-1 against Brazil’s Cunha/Ricardo and Dalhausser/Rogers increased their series advantage against Germany’s Erdmann/Matysik to 3-0.
The losing teams in the quarterfinals finished the tournament tied for fifth place and each team leaves Austria with $13,200 in prize money.
In the round of 16 rain-soaked elimination matches Friday, where five of the eight went to three sets, Brazil’s seventh-seeded Marcio Araujo/Pedro Salgado got things started by outlasting the rainstorm a 40-minute break because of lightning in the area and overcame their fourth-seeded Brazilian rivals Benjamin Insfran/Bruno Schmidt, 23-21, 17-21 and 15-12 in one hour, two minutes, the long match of the round. Slowly moving through the continuing deluge, Germany’s 12th-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik next defeated Poland’s 15th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, 21-16, 17-21 and 20-18 in 59 minutes, USA’s top-seeded Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal defeated Netherlands’ 26th-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, 21-18, 21-19 in 37 minutes and Brazil’s third-seeded Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos beat Netherlands’ 18th-seeded Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst, 21-18, 21-18 in 43 minutes.
In the other four round of 16 elimination matches Friday, China’s 21st-seeded Penggen Wu/Linyin Xu came from behind to defeat Germany’s 17th-seeded Sebastian Dollinger/Stefan Windscheif, 13-21, 21-14 and 15-13 in 50 minutes, Netherland’s Nummerdor/Schuil beat Switzerland’s 23rd-seeded Sebastian Chevalliet/Sasha Heyer, 21-18, 19-21 and 15-12 in 47 minutes, Germany’s sixth-seeded Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann beat Latvia’s 16th-seeded Martins Plans/Janis Smedins, 19-21, 21-17 and 15-13 in 57 minutes and USA’s second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers won by forfeit over Italy’s 11th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai.
In Saturday’s rain-soaked round of 16, the losing teams received ninth place finishes and each split $8,000 in prize money.
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.
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.
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.