2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour at FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam
The first of 10 FIVB Grand Slam events in 2014, the FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam has men’s action running from Tuesday through Saturday and women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. Using a format of a one-day qualification tournament to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams, the FIVB World Tour is in China for the 17th consecutive season.
With a field of more than 30 Olympians, a total of 68 men’s teams from 26 countries selected by their national federations and 61 women’s teams from 27 countries selected by their federations are officially entered in the super-talented field in the FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam but numerous athletes are teamed with different partners to start the 2014 season.
NO. 1s RETURN
While there are a number of new partnerships slated to start the season in China, both the No. 1 men’s and No. 1 women’s team in the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings return as early favorites to repeat as the top teams in the world. For the men, Latvia’s No. 1 ranked Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins (61-14 with a 81.3 percent winning percentage in 2013) return for the men while back as No. 1 for the women is Brazil’s dashing duo of Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima (61-10, 85.9 percent). In Fuzhou last week both teams struggled some as Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins recorded a fourth-place finish while Brazil’s Antunes/Lima finished in fifth place.
After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva has returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012 and the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Juliana/Antonelli will continue play this week by again playing in the women’s qualification tournament in Fuzhou. Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the FIVB World Rankings. In last week’s Fuzhou tournament, Juliana/Antonelli also started in the qualification tournament, came out strong, finishing with an 8-2 overall record (80 percent) and earning the silver medal.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 11 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
The FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.
The 11 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.
As the host nation, China receives three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw. For the men, China’s teams are Cheng Chen/Jian Li, Likejiang Ha/Jian Bao and Cong Yang/Jiaxin Wu. The women’s teams pre-seeded from China are Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, Yuanyuan Wang/Yuanyuan Ma and Xinyi Xia/Chen Xue. China’s one team in the women’s qualification tournament is Xinxin Wang/Ningya Tang. China also has one men’s reserve team in Zhuoxin Li/Lizeng Zhang. China’s Xia/Xue
FAMILIAR FACES, NEW TEAMS
With several partner switches during the off-season, new men’s teams featuring top players from different partnerships last season are: Brazil’s Pedro Salgado/Emanuel Rego, Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Thiago Santos Barbosa. Besides Brazil’s Juliana/Antonelli, among the other new women’s teams featuring top athletes are: Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil’s Liliane Maestrini/Eduardo Lisboa, Jennifer Fopma/Whitney Pavlik, United States, Brittany Hochevar/Lane Carico, United States and China’s Chen Xue/Xinyi Xia.
While the new teams will have an immediate impact on the competition, eight of the top 10-ranked men’s top-ranked teams from last year playing together in Shanghai are: Latvia’s No. 1 ranked Samoilovs/Smedins, Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai (No. 3 in 2013 FIVB World Rankings), Brazil’s Alvaro Filho/Ricardo Santos (No. 5), USA’s Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson (No. 6), Austria’s Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl (No. 7), Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera (No. 8), Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko (No. 9) and Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik (No. 10).
For the women, sis of the top 10-ranked teams from 2013 playing together entered in Shanghai are: Brazil’s No. 1 ranked Antunes/Lima, Brazilian sisters Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado (No. 2), Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Semmler (No. 3), Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst (No. 4); Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez (No. 6) and Australia’s Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy (No. 9).
In the 2013 Shanghai event, the two gold medal winners last year were USA’s Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson for the men and Brazil’s Antunes/Lima for the women. At last year’s FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam, also on the men’s podium were Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt (silver) and Brazil’s Alvaro Filho/Ricardo Santos. Rounding out the women’s podium were Austrian sisters Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger (silver) and Brazilian sisters Carolina/Maria Clara Salgado (bronze).
Visiting Shanghai for the 11th time, the FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam will be the 19th all-time FIVB World Tour men’s event and 28th FIVB World Tour women’s tournament in China. In 2014, China is again hosting three FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events. Visiting the same three venues as in 2013, this year’s tour includes the FIVB Fuzhou Open (April 22-27), the FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam (April 29-May 4) and the FIVB Xiamen Open (Oct. 7-12). All three will be double-gender events.
China is also hosting the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (Aug. 17-27)
The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Fuzhou Open will each split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The men medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.
The FIVB Shanghai PPTV Grand Slam will be the 299th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 262nd FIVB women’s tournament since each started play in 1992. The tournament will also be 81st men’s and 74th women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam event.
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