FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 septembre 2014


Press release

Women’s field reduced to 24 teams at FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam

Czech Republic's Kristyna Kolocova, center, spikes the Mikasa against Brazil's Maria Clara Salgado as Kolocova's teammate Marketa Slukova appreciates the play during the Salgado sisters' win Thursday at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

São Paulo, Brazil, September 25, 2014 —Emerging from two days and three rounds of round-robin pool play Thursday, 24 women’s teams have earned a spot in the single-elimination start Friday at the double-gender US$800,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam. The 2014 FIVB World Tour stop is being held in São Paulo through Sunday in a purpose-built venue on the grounds of the Barueri Arena.

Winning their pools Thursday were three teams from Brazil along with one each from Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. The eight pool winners now receive a bye into the round of 16 eliminations wihile the second and third place teams in each of the eight, four-team pools meeting in the first ‘knockout round’ Friday morning at the Barueri complex.

Women’s and men’s single-elimination play will begin on Friday with the women’s and men’s round of 24 eliminations,  the women’s and men’s round of 16 and the quarterfinals for both genders on Friday. On Saturday the semifinals and bronze medal matches for each gender will be played.. The women’s and men’s gold medal matches and awarding ceremony closing the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam will be held on Sunday.

The five women’s teams playing their way to the preeminent position within their respective pools of four with unblemished 3-0 records were Brazil’s top-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli, USA’s second-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brazil’s seventh-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Brazil’s 13th-seeded sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado and Switzerland’s 14th-seeded Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli. Women’s teams played twice on Wednesday and once Thursday.

The current point leaders on the 2014 FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s Juliana/Antonelli ending their pool play undefeated by stopping USA’s 16th-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross in straight sets, 21-13, 21-14 in 34 minutes.

USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings, stayed perfect Thursday with their twin-set win over Germany’s 15th-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Anni Schumacher, 21-17, 21-9 in just 30 minutes. The American duo has now won 30 consecutive pool play matches on the FIVB World Tour after recently winning the USA’s AVP domestic tour with seven for seven gold medals won without losing a set.

Playing in just their fifth FIVB World Tour event as a team with two gold medals, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita joined the top two-seeded teams who all won their three pool matches without losing a set (6-0), topped things off Thursday by defeating Germany’s 10th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Julia Sude, in two tough overtime straight sets, 23-21, 22-20 in 38 minutes. It was their 28th consecutive match win for the new Brazilian duo, including the last two FIVB World Tour stops that they won (Klagenfurt, Austria and Stare Jablonki, Poland) and the first two Brazilian national tour events of the season.

Brazilian sisters Salgado, 4-0 after winning a qualification match prior to starting pool play, broke a 2-0 tie from Wednesday’s matches by upsetting Czech Republic’s fourth-seeded Marketa Slukova/Kristyna Kolocova, in three grueling sets Thursday, 21-15, 18-21 and 23-21 in 63 minutes, the longest of the women’s tournament so far.

Switzerland’s Goicanec/Huberli, seeded 14th, continued a solid seed-breakthrough run Thursday with a stunning upset win in straight sets over Germany’s third-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, 21-19, 21-18 in 38 minutes.

Based on tiebrakers, winning their respective pools with 2-1 records to also earn byes to Friday’s second elimination round were Italy’s 11th-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Canada’s 25th-seeded Jamie Lynn Broder/Kristina Valjas and Netherlands’ 28th-seeded Rimke Braakman/Jantine van der Vlist.

Netherland’s Braakman/van der Vlist used another seed-breakthrough win to earn the top spot in their pool with their hard-fought, three-set win over Russia’s 21st-seeded Maria Prokopeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva, 16-21, 21-17 and 15-12 in 52 minutes. Russia’s Prokopeva/Syrtseva upset Brazil’s fifth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas on Wednesday to finish with a 2-1 record and also advance as the 1-2 Brazilian duo was eliminated in pool play.

Canada’s Broder/Valjas upset Netherlands’ ninth-seeded Marleen van Iersel/Madelein, Meppelink on Wednesday and then stopped USA’s Brittany Hochevar/Heather Hughes in straight sets Thursday, eventually earning the bye over the Dutch team.

Tanja Goricanec (SUI): “We played them already three times in the past and we always lost quite close in three sets, so now we changed our tactic. I think we served very good and we made less mistakes than them. We already won the pool two times this year and then lost in the second round.”

Tanji Huberli (SUI): “We played a good block defense system against them, I had a really good feeling about what she (Semmler) was playing in the block, so when I have a good day at the block it's easier, but everything we did together today was responsible for the victory. Our season is so long, this is our 18th tournament, so we are really happy we can save energy with the bye.”

Maria Clara Salgado (BRA):  “The Czechs are going really well, they are having a really good season and me and Carol have had some difficulties during the year and we are now trying to improve it at the end. To play against them is always difficult because they do all the basics well. Me and Carol separated for a short time, but we came back, and this victory is very important for us. Fortunately we have a sponsor that supports us a lot and we can travel even if we are on the reserve list. We know that our season hasn't been good, but we wouldn't have deserved not to be in a competition like this, at home. Everything worked out, spaces opened up and now are using all the difficulties as motivation.”

Talita Antunes (BRA): “We knew that this match would be difficult, it was the final of the last event, which just shows how balanced the women's tournament is. Two strong teams are already facing each other in the first phase of a FIVB Grand Slam. They are a combination that plays well, so we knew that we couldn't falter. Now we wait for our opponents in the second round and we'll also have a little more time to rest.

As the host nation, Brazil started with six women’s teams in the field of 32, four teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw and the two that advanced from the qualifier. For the women, the pre-seeded main draw teams from Brazil 13-6 overal so far as individual  Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, (1-2), Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli (3-0), Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes (3-0) and Liliane Maestrini/Rebecca Cavalcanti (1-2). Advancing from the qualification tournament were Taiana Lima/Fernanda Alves (1-2) and sisters Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado (4-0). Bednarczuk/Seixas and Lima/Alves were eliminated from pool play and the other four advanced to Friday’s start of elimination play

The FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam is the 310th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 27rrd FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in São Paulo will split $57,000, silver will receive $43,000, bronze medalists get $32,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $24,000 of the $800,000 total purse.

With extremely enthusiastic standing-room-only crowds in the stadium center courts each event, in the first 30 women’s events in Brazil, the home country has earned 18 gold medals following the by the USA with 11 and China has the other gold. Brazil has swept the podium five times in women’s tournaments. Most recently, the Brazilian women’s most recent sweep was in 2008 in Guarajà.

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