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Antonelli/Agatha storm into Xiamen Grand Slam women’s Main Draw

Brazil's Agatha Bednarczuk (left) blocks an attack by Kazakhstan’s Alexandra Varassova

Xiamen, China, October 23, 2013 – Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli of Brazil claimed an easy 2-0 qualification win here Wednesday morning to advance to the women’s Main Draw of the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Grand Slam with seven other teams.

Antonelli/Agatha, who took the bronze medal in the Sao Paulo Grand Slam two weeks ago, overpowered Bakhtyl Samalikova/Alexandra Varassova from Kazakhstan 21-12 and 21-13 in 29 minutes in a second round qualification match. “These girls we never saw, they are new and young, we are playing with them for the first time,” said Agatha.

Playing together for the first season, Antonelli/Agatha have captured a silver at the Corrientes Grand Slam and a bronze in Sao Paulo. Now they put their eyes on another final appearance in the tenth and last Grand Slam of this year. “For us this is special because we want to have better place in our ranking, this is a wonderful opportunity to do it here,” said Agatha. “We hope to have nice results here and go to the final. We want this too much! ”

Antonelli and Agatha enjoyed playing in the sunny and windy conditions in Xiamen. “This is my first time in Xiamen and I know there are a lot of sea foods and sceneries here in Xiamen. I think it is the best condition, because we have the sun, it is very nice. I hope people can come here to see the matches because the best teams of the world are here,” she added.

Russia and Germany both advanced two tandems to the 32-team women’s Main Draw. Second seeded qualifiers Alexandra Shiryaeva and Ekaterina Syrtseva of Russia clean swept Japan’s Ayumi Kusano/Samaa Miyagawa 21-15 and 21-7 while their countrywomen Olga Motrich/Daria Rudykh also advanced after outlasting Sweden’s Nina Grawender/Karin Lundqvist 2-1 (13-21, 21-11, 15-11). Germany’s Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude and Teresa Mersmann/Isabel Schneider also secured their berths in the Main Draw with respective victory in the qualification round.

Other teams making it to the women’s Main Draw, which is scheduled to start on Thursday, are Candelas Bibiana/Martha Revuelta (Mexico), Barbara Hansel/Bianca Zass (Austria) and Takemi Nishibori/Sayaka Mizoe (Japan).

Thirty-two teams will play a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage. The double gender Xiamen Grand Slam is the last of a record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar.

China has hosted more than 23 women’s and 14 men’s tournaments on the FIVB World Tour, but this is the first visit for an FIVB international beach volleyball event in the city of Xiamen. The event in Xiamen is one of three FIVB international beach volleyball events being held in China this year. The first was the 2013 FIVB Open tournament held in Fuzhou on April 23 to 28, followed by the Shanghai Grand Slam, which took place from April 30 to May 5, 2013.

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