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Main draw field finalised for FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam

Brazil's Vitor Felipe goes high to cut the Mikasa past the block attempt by Switzerland's Jonas Kissling as Felipe and Evandro Goncalves won to qualifying matches Wednesday to advance to the main draw at the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam.

Corrientes, Argentina, May 22, 2013 - It was quick and it was intense, but when it finished eight men’s and eight women’s teams have advanced from Wednesday’s qualifying rounds to Thursday’s start of the 32-team main draw at the $440,000 FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam double-gender tournament. Two men’s teams from Austria and one each from Brazil, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland, along with women’s teams from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Kazakhstan and the United States advanced.

A total of 28 men’s and 18 women’s teams battled in the single-elimination qualification tournament Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in their respective 32-team main draw fields as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumed in South America after a two-week layoff. Main Draw round-robin four-team pool play starts Thursday morning. Pool Play will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. 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.

Main Draw pool play matches are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, continuing under the lights with the final match of the day starting at 9 p.m.

Men’s teams advancing to the main draw ‘money rounds’ were Austria’s Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst and Robin Seidl/Alexander Huber, Brazil’s Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, Germany’s Eric Koreng/Alexander Walkenhorst, Italy’s Paolo Ingrosso/Matteo Ingrosso, Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Yaroslav Koshkarev, Sweden’s Stefan Gunnarsson/Hannes Brinkborg and Switzerland’s Philip Gabathuler/Jonas Weingart.

For the women, the eight team’s advancing were Austria’s Barbara Hansel/Katharina Schutzenhofer, Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado, Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Heather Bansley, Germany’s Julia Grossner/Victoria Bieneck, Great Britain’s Zara Dampney/Lucy Boulton, Italy’s Daniela Gioria/Laura Giombini, Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova and USA’s Emily Day/Summer Ross.

The lighted stadium court has been built to seat 7,500 spectators. With competition on the final four days schedule into the evening, the women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday with the men’s semifinals and medal matches closing the tournament on Sunday. Play the first four days is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. local time on Sunday for the men’s final four matches.

Among the advancing men’s teams, the top four-seed qualification teams - both Austrian teams along with Russia and Germany had first-round byes and won their second round matchups to move forward. In the final match of the day, Germany’s Koreng/Walkenhorst came from behind to hold off a strong effort by France’s Eduoard Rowlandson/Andy Ces to advance, 21-14, 21-19, 17-15 in 55 minutes.

Brazil’s Felipe/Goncalves, Italy’s Ingrosso brothers, Sweden’s Gunnarsson/Brinkborg and Switzerland’s Gabathuler/Weingart each had to win two matches to earn their main draw spots.  In the biggest seed-breakthrough of the day, Sweden’s 12th-seeded Gunnarsson/Brinkborg went three sets in the advancement round to upset fifth-seed qualifiers Marco and Esteban Grimalt of Chile, 21-16, 22-20 in 36 minutes.

On the women’s side, all eight advancing teams needed to play just one match to earn main draw position, though three went to three sets. In the longest women’s match of the day at 54 minutes, Canada’s Pavan/Bansley outlasted Switzerland’s third-seeded qualification team Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré, 14-21, 29-27, 15-13. In another of the women’s three-setters, an All-American matchup, USA’s Emily Day/Summer Ross overcame compatriots Jennifer Fopma/Brooke Sweat, 21-12, 14-21, 15-10 in 45 minutes.

Visiting Corrientes for the first time, the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam is the fourth all-time FIVB World Tour men’s event, first FIVB World Tour women’s tournament and first FIVB World Tour Grand Slam in Argentina. Argentina’s men’s world tour events were all held in Mar del Plata (1998, 1999, 2000) and a men’s FIVB Satellite event was also held there in 2004. In 2005, Buenos Aires was the site of a double-gender FIVB Satellite event.

As the host nation, Argentina received three teams in each gender pre-positioned into the main draw. For the men, Argentina’s teams are Ian Mehamed/Julian Amado, Pablo Bianchi/Pablo Suarez and Juan Zorrilla/Facundo Del Coto. The women’s teams pre-positioned from Argentina are 2012 Olympians Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta, Natalia Flaviani/Georgina Klug and Alejandra Graino/Florencia Di Cesare.

In the men’s qualification tournament for Argentina was Santiago Etchegaray/Angel Verzzali. Etchegary/Verzzali were eliminated by Sweden’s veteran duo of Stefan Gunnarsson/Hannes Brinkborg, 21-11, 21-14 in 34 minutes.

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 will be 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.

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