FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Gstaad MAJOR | 7 - 12 July 2015


Press release

“Perfect” day on the sand for World Champion medal winners

Digging for SWATCH Major Series success in Gstaad Wednesday were Brazilian world champions Barbara Seixas (left) and Agatha Bednarczuk during an opening match in the Swiss Alps Village.

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 8, 2015 - It was a “perfect” day on the sand in this Swiss Alps village here Wednesday for Brazil’s three women’s podium placers at last week’s world championships in The Netherlands as the trio combined for a 6-0 match mark during the opening pool play rounds in the US$800,000 Gstaad Major, the third of three SWATCH Major Series events on the 2015 calendar.

Led by second-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, the newly-crowned FIVB ‘senior” Beach Volleyball world champions, five Brazilian teams in the Gstaad Major competition posted an 8-2 record Wednesday.  One of the two setbacks was due to a match being played between two teams from the South American country as top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca defeated the Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) in Pool A.

Joining Agatha and Barbara (Pool B) on the world championship podium this past Saturday in The Hague were third-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta (Pool C) and fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima (Pool D).  Agatha and Barbara defeated Antonelli and Juliana in the semi-finals before capturing the world championship gold medal by downing Fernanda and Lima.

Antonelli and Juliana defeated Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany for the bronze medal at the world championships.  The Germans are the defending champions in Gstaad after winning the 2014 event by defeating compatriots Karla Borger and Britta Buthe 2-0 (24-22, 21-16) in 40 minutes.  It was the first-ever All-German women’s final on the FIVB World Tour since the start of play in 1992.

Competing in the same pool with Fernanda and Lima, the 13th-seeded Holtwick and Semmler lost both of their matches Wednesday to pairs from Russia and Austria to be eliminated from the competition despite a scheduled Pool D match Thursday as Fernanda and Lima.

The 10th-seeded Borger and Buthe, who were 17th in world championships, won both of their matches Wednesday over pairs from Switzerland and Canada, to advance to a Pool G-deciding match against seventh-seeded April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States.  The Americans finished ninth at the world championships and are playing in only their fourth FIVB World Tour event this season due to Walsh Jennings recovering from a shoulder injury

Two of the three remaining pools have a “clear-cut” leader, including 28th-seeded qualifier Taru Lahti/Riikka Lehtonen of Finland in Pool E and sixth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy in Pool F.  The Fins posted a pair of upsets Wednesday over fifth-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands and 12th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.

In Pool H, eighth-seeded Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland and ninth-seeded Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada won both of their matches Wednesday and will meet Thursday with the winner capturing the top spot in the pool.  The Swiss are coming off a 33rd finish in the world championships where they just missed qualifying for the elimination rounds where Bansley and Pavan lost in the quarter-finals.

Returning to the Swiss Alps village for the 16th-straight year, the Gstaad Major is the third of three SWATCH Major Series events that began with tournaments last month in Croatia (Porec) and Norway (Stavanger).  The women’s 32-team Main Draw features final pool play matches Thursday with three rounds of elimination play Friday.  The semi-final and medal matches will be played Saturday where the winning team shares the $57,000 first-place prize.

Following the Gstaad Major, the FIVB World Tour takes a week off before resuming in the inaugural Yokohama Grand Slam July 21-26.  It will mark the first-time that both men and women have competed together in Japan in a FIVB World Tour event.  Seven FIVB men’s only events were held in Japan from 1989-1995, including a 1991 on stop in Yokohama.  A total of 14 women’s only events were held in Osaka from 1994-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.

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