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Qualifying Rounds Opens Transavia Grand Slam Play Tuesday

Reinder Nummerdor from the Netherlands stretches for the Mikasa in the 2009 event on The Hague Beach Stadium court.

The Hague, The Netherlands, July 14, 2014 - The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns to The Netherlands for the fifth-time starting with the men’s and women’s qualifying rounds here Tuesday on the Scheveningen courts as the competition will determine the final eight spots for both genders in Wednesday’s opening Main Draw pool play matches.

The ninth event for men and the 10th stop for the women on the international circuit, the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam presented by Bas Van de Goor Foundation will conclude with the medal matches Sunday as the final two teams in both gender’s competition with be competing for the gold medals and a share of the $70,000 first-place prize for each winning team.

The Transavia Grand Slam, a “prelude” to the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, will be played at three sites on Wednesday and Thursday where pool play matches will be held at The Hague Beach Stadium and the Scheveningen side courts along with competition in Amsterdam and Apeldoorn.  The action for the final three days of the competition will be solely at the Scheveningen courts.

New champions for The Hague event will be crowned as the Scheveningen site has also hosted FIVB World Tour events in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.  The Brazilian pairs that captured both men’s and women’s gold medals in 2013 have been disbanded and “new” partnerships have been formed.

Pedro Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt claimed The Hague’s men’s title last season by defeating Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia in the 2013 finals.  Salgado is playing with Emanuel Rego this season with Bruno paired with Alison Cerutti.  In last week’s FIVB World Tour stop in Switzerland, Bruno and Alison lost the Gstaad finale to Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal of the United States.

Talita Rocha and Taiana Lima topped the 2013 podium on The Hague Beach Stadium court by defeating the Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) in an All-Brazilian finale.  Talita returns this year with the legendary Larissa França as the pair has received a “wild card” for the Transavia Grand Slam.

Lima and Fernanda Alves will be in this week’s qualifier after placing ninth last week in Switzerland where Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler won the first-ever All-German women’s gold medal match by defeating compatriots Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in the finale.

As the host country for Transavia Grand Slam, The Netherlands have placed three men's and three women's teams in the Main Draws with five other pairs in Tuesday's qualifier.  Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, the reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball world champions, headline the Dutch men entries in the "money" rounds along with the tandems of Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst and Reinder Nummerdor/Steven van de Velde.  Competing for The Netherlands in the men's qualifier are Dirk Boehle/Mart van Werkhoven and Daan Spijkers/Michiel van Dorsten.

A Dutch Olympian in both Volleyball and Beach Volleyball, Nummerdor won the inaugural FIVB World Tour event in The Hague by capturing the 2009 gold medal with Richard Schuil as the Dutch defeated Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera for the title.  Nummerdor was named the FIVB World Tour’s top defensive player in 2009 and 2011.

Headlining the Dutch women’s entries are 2014 European Champions Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel.  Other host country women’s teams in the Main Draw of the Transavia Grand Slam are Rimke Braakman/Jantine van der Vlist and Sanne Keizer/Sophie van Gestel.  Participating for the Dutch in the qualifier are Laura Bloem/Marloes Wesselink, Annemieke Driessen/Ilke Meertens and Jessica Smit/Roos Van der Hoeven.

Following this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour returns to the United States for the second-straight year as Long Beach in southern California hosts another $1-million event.  The international circuit returns to European in August for stops in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 29-August 3) and Poland (Stare Jablonki, August 19-24).

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