Women’s final matches at FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam Saturday
Corrientes, Argentina, May 24, 2013—Challenging each other to reach new heights, eight women’s teams have emerged victorious to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches of the $440,000 FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam double-gender tournament. Winning their respective pools to earn a first-round bye in the 24-team single elimination portion of the event were three teams each from Brazil and Germany along with one each from the Netherlands and the United States.
When the sand settled under a glistening moon in Corrientes, the seven of the eight teams which had won the pools earlier Friday, defeated the winners of the second and third place pool teams who played each other in Friday’s first single-elimination round for the final 24 teams standing in the tournament.
Round 2 of the 10-event 2013 FIVB World Tour will conclude Saturday with the internationally-televised women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. Men’s final matches will be played on Sunday. With the event being held for the first time in Corrientes, the purpose-built site is located on the sands of Arazati Beach – Costanera Sur.
The elite eight for this event has three teams from Germany, two teams from Brazil with one team each from Netherlands, Spain and the United States.
The lighted stadium court has been built to seat 7,500 spectators. With competition in finish the evening, the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. with the men’s semifinals and medal matches closing the tournament on Sunday. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will start at 2:30 p.m. local time on Sunday for the men’s final four matches.
The eight teams who will battle Saturday for the medals are Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Agatha Bednarczuk, Brazilian sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado, Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany’s Julia Grossner/Victoria Bieneck, Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestal, Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo and USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.
In Friday night’s featured round of 16 matchups in the Corrientes center court stadium, Brazil’s Antonelli/Bednarczuk overcame a disastrous first set to defeat Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich, 9-21, 21-11, 15-11 in 53 minutes, Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo slipped past Brazil’s Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes, 21-18, 27-29, 15-13, in 60 minutes. Brazil’s Salgado sisters bounced back to slip by Australia’s Taliqua Clancy/Louise Bawden, 17-21, 31-29, 15-11 in 61 minutes and Germany’s Holtwilck/Semmler won over Austria’s Barbara Hansel/Katharina Schutzenhofer, 21-18, 21-12 in 34 minutes.
In the other four second round matches, Germany’s Borger/Buthe stopped Canada’s Sara Pavan/Heather Bansley, 21-15, 21-15 in 35 minutes, Germany’s Grossner/Bieneck squeezed by Russia’ s Maria Prokopeva/Irina Chaika, 21-18, 17-21, 15-11 in 50 minutes, Netherland’s Meppelink/van Gestal topped Brazil’s Barbara Seixas/Liliane Maestrini, 21-17, 21-18 in 37 minutes and USA’s Kessy/Ross held on against Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova/Kristyna Kolocova, 18-21, 29-27, 15-13 in 57 minutes.
Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo fiercely fought to eventually overcome Brazil’s Lima/Antunes who had won their pool. Commented Fernandez said following their exciting victory, "We had to be very concentrated during the game, it was a really difficult match but we could follow our strategy. The level in this Grand Slam is really high and all the teams are tough but now we are happy for this victory.”
After first advancing by way of Wednesday’s qualifying tournament, María Clara Salgado was pleased with her and sister Carolina’s effort, saying “I feel great, it was a hard match, the Australians played really good and it's always nice to see new teams The first set was really hard for both of us but the most important thing of the match was that we helped each other a lot in the bad moments.” This FIVB Grand Slam is a high-level competition, there are great teams, though China wasn’t here, so for sure is different but the level is still very, very high.”
USA’s Kessy/Ross, the 2012 Olympic silver medalists, continued their powerful tournament start in winning their pool with wins over teams from Argentina and Kazhkstan on Thursday and Canada this morning before their match against Czech Republic’s Slukova/ Kolocova.
The USA vs. Czech Republic was a battle between two teams that went to the 2012 London Olympic Games as USA’s Kessy/Ross won the silver medal and Czech Republic’s Slukova/Kolocova came in fifth place in London. The two met in the quarterfinals with Kessy/Ross winning in two sets.
Both Kessy and Ross were pleased with their start in the tournament. Kessy commented after her team’s second round win saying, “We are really happy to win our pool anytime, all the teams are here really tough so any time you can win your pool is a big deal and this tournament especially because if we would have lost, we would have played three matches today instead of two. We never think we are out of it, that we’re in it to win it and even though we were down 12-10 in the tiebreaker against the good Czech team, we kept our composure and our mental toughness helped us.”
Ross remarked afterwards, “Usually after the Olympics it feels like there are a lot of new teams and maybe they're not as good, but this time I feel like the competition level is still going up, everybody is still getting better so it's even harder this year than it was last year.”
The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The women’s medal matches will be held on Saturday and the men’s medal matches on Sunday. The FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam is the 286th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1989 and the 248th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.