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FIVB BEACH VOLLEYBALL NEWS

Final field set for women’s FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open main draw

 
Mexico's Haydee Lopez, left, passes the Mikasa to Mayra Santacruz as the Mexican tandem won their qualification match Wednesday over China to give the home country four teams in the main draw at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, May 7, 2014—Enjoying slightly cooler temperatures and less humidity because of a day-long cloud cover, women’s teams from Croatia, Italy and host country Mexico played hotly to each won qualification tournament matches Wednesday to advance to Thursday’s start of the 32-team main draw pool play portion of the double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open.

With women’s competition going through Sunday majestic sands on the purpose built complex on the picturesque Playa Camarones, the tournament is the third event on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar.

With their single match wins on Wednesday, the final three women’s teams advancing to the main draw are Croatia’s Dalida Vernier/Jurja Vlasic, Italy’s Sara Menghi/Laura Cavalluzzu and Mexico’s Haydee Lopez/Mayra Santacruz.

Based on the entry total, the top five seeds in the qualifying tournament received byes and passed through to berths in the main draw. Announced at Tuesday night’s women’s technical meeting, the teams filled five of the final eight spots in the 32-team women’s main draw are teams from the United States, Germany, Venezuela, Japan and Canada.

The top five teams advancing to join the three Wednesday winners are USA’s Heather Hughes/Christal Engle, Germany’s Sandra Seyfferth/Kim Behrens, Venezuela’s Norisbeth Agudo/Gabriela Brito, Japan’s Ayumi Kusano/Sakurako Fujii and Canada’s Claudia Seguin/Brandie Wilkerson.

The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) international tour is back in Mexico for the first time since 2006 for its first event in Puerto Vallarta being held on Playa Camarones adjacent to the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center. The FIVB World Tour has had eight previous tour stops in Mexico. Acapulco hosted double-gender events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito hosted one double-gender tour stop in 2000.

TEAM MEXICO
Mexico’s single team in the women’s qualification tournament is Haydee Lopez/Mayra Santacruz.  The team will join the three women’s teams from Mexico who were pre-seeded into the main draw as the host nation to give them four teams for pool play. The other main draw teams from Mexico are the teams of Martha Revuelta/Bibiana Candelas, Stephanie Burnside/Diana Valdez and Paulette Cruz/Vanessa Virgen.

Mexico’s Lopez/Santacruz defeated China’s Xinxin Wang/Ningya Tang in two sets Wednesday, 21-11, 21-10 in 31 minutes.

“We are so excited to win, especially herein Mexico,” said Santacruz. “We played well today and it is amazing to make the main draw on the FIVB World Tour. We want to represent our country well and this was a good start today.”

SHE’S BACK
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 moved directly into the main draw after a late withdrawal in Puerto Vallarta.

Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the FIVB World Rankings. In the season-opening Fuzhou tournament, Juliana/Antonelli also started in the qualification tournament, came out strong, finishing with an 8-2 overall record to earn the silver medal. Last week in Shanghai the talented Brazilian duo finished in ninth place with a 4-2 final record.

BRAZILIAN TRIPLE
In addition to No. 10-seeded Juliana/Antonelli, Brazil also has the top two seeded teams in No. 1 Talita Antunes/Taina Lima and No. 2 Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas.

NUMERO 263
The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open is the 300th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 263rd FIVB women’s tournament since each started play in 1992.

BREAKDOWN
The second of 10 FIVB Open events in 2014, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open men’s action started Tuesday and goes through Saturday while women’s competition began Wednesday and ends Sunday. The tournament format had 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 of three matches per team followed by a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will be held Saturday while the women’s semis and medal matches will be played on Sunday at the purpose-built stadium at Puerto Vallarta’s Playa Camarones.

FIVB GOLD
Visiting Puerto Vallarta for the first time, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be the ninth and 10th all-time FIVB World Tour FIVB World Tour events in Mexico. All double-gender events, the FIVB World Tour visited Acapulco in 1999, Rosarito Beach in 2000 and Acapulco again in both 2005 and 2006.

Mexico is also hosting the Inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships this year in Acapulco (July 15-20).

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The men medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.

NET TIME
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 11 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.



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