FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Rio de Janeiro Open | 2 - 6 septembre 2015


Press release

The calm before the storm

Summer Ross (left) of the United States attempts to block against Canadian rival Kristina Valjas in an opening pool play match Thursday afternoon at the Rio Open on Copacabana beach.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 3, 2015 - It was a clam, but cloudy day for the women competing in the US$150,000 Rio Open here Thursday where the pleasant conditions produced only one seed-break-through in a match featuring North American rivals Canada and the United States.

With four medal winners from the London 2012 Summer Games winning their opening Rio Open pool play matches Thursday, one of the day’s most exciting match featured 16th-seeded Lane Carico and Summer Ross of the United States challenging ninth-seeded Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas of Canada.

With the Canadians the sixth-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour and a gold medal winner this past April in China, Carico and Ross overcame a mid-match setback to score a 2-1 (21-14, 19-21, 15-12) in 48 minutes over Broder and Valjas.  It was the second of two three-set matches in Pool D as fourth-seeded Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands rallied to defeat 21st-seeded Yuanyuan Ma and Xinyi Xia of China 2-1 1(18-21, 21-18, 15-7) in 46 minutes.

Meppelink and Van Iersel, who have compiled four FIVB World Tour podium placements this season and are ranked fifth internationally, will play Carico and Ross in one of the opening matches Friday with the Dutch meeting Broder and Valjas in a day-ending contest.  Meppelink and Van Iersel hold a 3-1 edge in the series with the Canadians, including a semi-final victory over Broder and Valjas at May’s open event in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings teamed with London 2012 Olympic silver medal winner April Ross to win their opening Pool F match Thursday with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) win in 34 minutes over 19th-seeded Greta Cicolari and Giulia Momoli of Italy in 34 minutes.  The sixth-seeded Americans close Pool F with matches against 18th-seeded Lena Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhofer of Austria and the seventh-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara).

Playing with different partners now, London 2012 Olympic bronze medal winners Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta won opening matches Thursday with Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli, respectively.  Talita and Antonelli placed ninth in London before splitting after the 2012 Summer Games.

The top-seeded Talita and Larissa, who were announced Tuesday as a Brazilian Beach Volleyball pairs for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, scored a 2-0 (21-8, 21-8) win in 29 minutes over 24th-seeded compatriots Rachel Nunes and Angela Vieira.  The third-seeded Antonelli and Juliana defeated 22nd-seeded Brazilian rivals Renata Ribeiro and Ana Patricia Silva Brazil 2-0 (21-16, 21-12) in 31-minutes.

Antonelli and Juliana are competing against Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas for Brazil’s second women’s berth in the Rio 2016 Olympics.  The reigning FIVB world champions and second seeds in the Rio Open, Agatha and Barbara posted a 2-0 (21-11, 21-9) win in 32 minutes over 23rd-seeded compatriots Pauline Alves and Paula Hoffmann.

Thursday’s women’s schedule concluded with two matches under the lights with eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain meeting 17th-seeded Eduarda Lisboa and Elize Maia of Brazil followed by the Salgado sisters meeting Plesiutschnig and Schutzenhofer.  Eduarda, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic gold medal winner with Ana Patricia, and Maia has to win a qualifying match Wednesday to gain a Rio Open Main Draw berth.

The Rio Open, the 13th women’s stop on the 2015 FIVB World Tour, is serving as a “test” event for the 2016 Summer Games to be played next August on the same site on Copacabana Beach.  The Rio Open concludes with both the women’s and men’s medal matches Sunday where the winning pairs in both genders will share the $11,000 first-place prizes.

Following the Rio Open, the FIVB World Tour crosses the Atlantic Ocean for a stop in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) before taking a week off before visiting China (Xiamen, September 22-27) for the second-time in 2015.  The “elite” players on the international circuit will be featured September 29-October 4 at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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