FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Gstaad MAJOR | 7 - 12 July 2015


Press release

It’s North America vs. Brazil, but…

Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) of the United States blocks the attack of Agatha Bednarczuk (center) during a Gstaad Major quarter-final match Friday with Brazilian Barbara Seixas watching the action.

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 10, 2015 - A pair of North American teams broke Brazil’s streak of two-straight podium sweeps on the FIVB World Tour by winning quarter-final matches over pairs from the South American country here Friday in the US$800,000 Gstaad Major.

But the “biggest” news was the courage displayed by three-time Olympic and World Champion Kerri Walsh Jennings as she played the last portion of her quarter-final match with April Ross with a shoulder injury as the seventh-seeded Americans upset newly-crowned world champions and second-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil 2-0 (21-17, 23-21) in a 48-minute match.

With the Americans leading 10-4 in the second set, Walsh Jennings reinjured her right shoulder that she initially dislocated May 27 during a pool play match at the Russian Grand Slam in Moscow.  After the medical time-out, Walsh Jennings resumed play and had a 19-14 lead with Agatha and Barbara scoring the next five points to tie the set.  After deadlocks at 20s and 21s, the Americans won it on a Ross attack and a Walsh Jennings block.

With the win, Ross and Walsh Jennings are scheduled to play fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima of Brazil in the second of two semi-finals Saturday.  Top-seeded Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca will be challenged by ninth-seeded Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan in the first semi-final in the 16th annual FIVB World Tour stop in this Swiss Alps village.

Talita and Larissa joined the Canadians in winning opening quarter-final matches Friday as the Brazilians posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) win in 34 minutes over 14th-seeded Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia.  It was Talita and Larissa’s second win Friday as the Brazilians eliminated 31st-seeded Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner of Germany 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) in 32 minutes.

Bansley and Pavan advanced to their third FIVB World Tour “final four” this season by eliminating 18th-seeded compatriots Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) in 33 minutes and third-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta of Brazil 2-0 (21-14, 22-20) in 39 minutes.  In the quarter-final match, Bansley and Pavan trailed 20-16 in the second set before scoring the final six points to secure the win over the bronze medal winners at last week’s world championships in The Netherlands.

Fernanda and Lima posted wins over pairs from Spain and Germany to advance to their third-straight semi-final this season.  After defeating 11th-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) in 32 minutes, the Brazilians posted a 2-1 (12-21, 21-17, 15-11) win in 40 minutes over 12th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany.

Ross and Walsh Jennings, who returned to FIVB World Tour action last week at the world championships where the Americans placed ninth after missing international events in Croatia, Norway and the United States, eliminated the 16th-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) of Brazil 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-11) in 54 minutes to start play Friday.

The Brazil versus Canada match will be the fourth meeting this season between the two teams with Talita and Larissa winning twice in the Porec Major where the second Croatian match was in the gold medal confrontation.  Bansley and Pavan defeated the Brazilians in pool play at the Moscow Grand Slam.  All three matches have been three-set affairs.

If the second semi-final match between Fernanda/Lima and Ross/Walsh Jennings is played, it will be the first FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams.

The women’s semi-final and medal matches will be played Saturday where the winning team shares the $57,000 first-place prize.  Brazil will be seeking its seventh-straight gold medal finish on the FIVB World Tour this season with Talita and Larissa winning twice in Russia and Croatia.  Agatha and Barbara posted three of the tournament wins in the Czech Republic, the United States and last week in The Hague.  Antonelli and Juliana topped the podium in Norway.

Brazilians tandems have played in the last three FIVB World Tour gold medal matches.  Antonelli and Juliana defeated Agatha and Barbara in the Stavanger Major with the two teams switching places the next week in St. Petersburg.  At the world championships this past Saturday, Agatha and Barbara defeated Fernanda and Lima in the finals.

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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