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Lower seeds win twice Tuesday in Women’s Pool Play at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam

Switzerland's Anouk Verge-Deptre and Isabelle Forrer won two pool play matches on Tuesday at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 23, 2013—While four of the five top-seeded women’s team won both of their pool play matches Tuesday, the big surprise was three lower-seeded teams all winning twice as well to lead or tie for the lead in their respective pools during Tuesday’s start of the 32-team main draw at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam double-gender tournament as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. While the men’s teams played one of three pool play matches on Tuesday, the unexpected women’s double winners were Switzerland’s 17th-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, USA’s 15th-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross and Slovak Republic’s 13th-seeded Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova.

With the third and final women’s pool play match and first round of single-elimination for the final 24 teams in the 32-team main draw, the men will play their second of three pool play matches with the final one and their first elimination round on Thursday as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade. With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park on East Lakeshore Drive.

Main Draw pool play matches at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, are scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at The last match is scheduled to start on each of the four courts at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

With 12 undefeated women’s teams after Tuesday’s heated action, all four of Brazil’s women’s teams, seeded second through fifth, were all unbeaten on Tuesday. The Brazilian women’s teams who all have 2-0 records after the first day of pool play in Long Beach are No. 2-seeded Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes, No. 3-seeded, Barbara Seixas/Liliane Maestrini, No. 4-seeded Maria Claira Salgado/Carolina Salgado and No. 5-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Maria Antonelli. Overall, Brazil’s four men’s teams were 3-1 Tuesday giving the South American powerhouse a combined 11-1 pool play record after the first day in Long Beach.

While the USA men’s teams compiled a 4-1 record on Tuesday, the USA women’s teams recorded a solid combined record of 8-2, giving the USA a combined event record of 12-3 on Tuesday. Day/Ross were 2-0 along with No. 8-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brittany Hochevar, and No. 12-seeded Jennifer Fopma/Brooke Sweat..

Finishing 1-1 for the United States Tuesday in Long Beach were USA’s No.1-seeded April Ross/Jennifer Kessy and No. 27-seeded Annett Davis/Whitney Pavlik.

The three other undefeated women’s teams on Tuesday were Germany’s No. 7-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, and Switzerland’s No. 9-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich and Czech Republic’s No. 10-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova.

In the biggest seed-breakthrough of the day, Switzerland’s No. 17-seeded Forrer/Verge-Depre upset USA’s top-seeded Ross/Kessy, who are playing their final event as a team, in straight sets, 21-19, 21-15 in 34 minutes. Earlier, the young Swiss team defeated Finland’s veteran No. 16-seed Erika Nystrom/Emilia Nystrom, 21-19, 21-15 in 35 minutes.

“We played about as good as we can right now and we may have caught them off-guard a little as this was a third try and first victory against them,” commented Verge-Depre, just 21, who just last September won the FIVB U-21 World Championship playing with Nina Betschart. “We couldn’t close out the first set very easily, but we served really well through the entire match and they made a lot of service errors. It was hot very everyone today and hard to keep focus. We changed a lot of things since we played them before and they are the first top team we have beaten. We’re really happy and we have a great opportunity to go 3-0 and win our pool.”

The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS, is the showcase part of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. Also part of the event is the inaugural ASICS World Series Cup featuring two teams in each gender from the USA against two international teams with the finals on Sunday. In addition to the international live FIVB telecasts, the event also includes 23 hours of live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.

Officially announced on Tuesday, playing in Saturday’s women’s ASICS World Series Cup will be Ross/Kessy and Kerri Walsh Jennings/Pavlik along with Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler and Brazil’s Lima/Antunes.  For the men, on the sand will be USA’s Sean Rosenthal/Phil Dalhausser and Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson along with Latvia’s Alexandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins and Brazil’s Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt.

The women’s semifinals and medal matches of the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be held on Friday with the men’s semifinals also on Friday and men’s medal matches closing the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam on Saturday. Play Wednesday through Friday will start at 8 a.m. and at 11 a.m. on Saturday for the men’s medal matches.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Long Beach 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 Friday and the men’s medal matches on Saturday. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 291st FIVB international men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 253rd FIVB women’s tournament since women started international competition in 1992.

The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is comprised of 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes seven Open events, five double-gender and two women-only. There is a double-gender FIVB Open event being playing this week as well in Anapa, Russia.

After another week off next week, the 10-Grand Slam 2013 FIVB World Tour will continue in two weeks in Germany at the $440,000 FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. The season finale of the tour will be in Brazil in mid-October at the $440,000 FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

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