FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Antalya Open | 20 - 25 October 2015


Press release

Slovakian newcomers upset top ranked Swedish girls in Antalya qualification

Slovakia's Lubica Siposova and Lucia Behunova (serving) made it to main draw at their first World Tour event

Antalya, Turkey, October 20, 2015 – Lubica Siposova and Lucia Behunova started their World Tour adventure well on Tuesday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Antalya Open. The Slovakian newcomers defeated top ranked Swedish pair Camilla Nilsson and Tadva Yoken 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 16-14) in the second and final qualification round to claim their first ever main draw ticket.

Like in their first match against Czechs Karolina Rehackova and Magdalena Dostalova (21-16, 13-21, 15-13) the 17th seeded Slovakian girls needed a tiebreak to seal the deal.

“Our first game was as tight as this one”, the 34-year old Siposova said. “We just made too many mistakes of our own in the second set and maybe it was because of lack of experience. But we are very happy to be in our first main draw in our first ever FIVB event.”

Siposova and 29-year old Behunova play volleyball in the winter, but teamed up three years ago to try beach volleyball in the summer. “Game by game, tournament by tournament we try to do our best and go higher step by step”, Siposova said. “We started in Slovakia, then played in all our neighbouring countries, Czech Republic and Austria. That went really well, we got some third and second places and so we decided to come here.”

Italy – China 2-0

Agata Zuccarelli and Monica Lestini (15th seeded) knocked out second seeded Tang Ningya and Chen ChunXia from China (21-13, 21-18) after they eliminated another team from China in the morning, Wang Xinxin and Ding Jingjing (18-21, 21-15, 15-11). “Italy – China, 2-0”, a very happy Zuccarelli said after their final qualification match.

For the 20-year old Zuccarelli this is not the first time she reached a World Tour main draw, she finished 17th in Puerto Vallarta and Parana (2014) with different partners, but for the 21-year old Lestini this is all new.

"I didn’t expect at all to have these results and I am so happy about our performance, our mental performance above all”, Lestini (21) said.
She and Zuccarelli just recently entered a project from the Italian federation, preparing them to shine at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. “Our dream”, according to Lestini.

Meanwhile they get to practice with Italian stars Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth and share their coaches. “We just started and take it step by step, but we mix up well together and we are happy to have reached main draw right away”, Lestini said.

The other six teams that made it to main draw are Germany’s Anni Schumacher and Kim Behrens (6th), Alexandra Moiseeva and Anastasia Barsuk (8th) and Daria Rudykh and Elizaveta Zayonchkovskaya (13th) from Russia, Ukraine’s Inna Makhno and Diana Mulenko (19th) and Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova (23rd) and USA’s Allison Daley McCollogh and Emily Stockman (12th).

Germany leads the field

Starting on Wednesday Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler will lead the field in main draw. The German girls did not end up on the podium yet this season, but finished fourth at the World Championships in the Netherlands and fourth at the Xiamen Open a few weeks ago.

Also eyeing a medal in Antalya are Swiss Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré, silver medallists in Sochi and bronze medallists in Xiamen, and Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth. The Italians collected gold in Sochi and bronzes in Moscow and Puerto Vallarta.

The main draw field features three host country teams, with young Merve Nezir (17) and Esra Betul Cetin (19) being the only team with some World Tour experience. They competed at the Sochi Open in September, but stranded in qualification.

It is the first time Turkey is hosting a women’s event and also the first time beach resort Antalya is staging a World Tour beach volleyball tournament. In 1996, 1997 and 1998 the neighbouring town of Alanya (133 kilometres down the coast) hosted men’s events.

The inaugural Antalya Open features two venues. The centre court and courts 2 and 3 are set up in the Beach Park on the seaside. Courts 4 and 5 are permanent courts located at the Akdeniz University. This is also where the evening matches will be staged.

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