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Women’s elite eight ready for quarterfinals and semis in Long Beach

USA's Brooke Sweat, right, fires a cut shot past Brazil's Juliana Felisberta as USA's Lauren Fendrick stays focused during USA's stunning upset over the second-seeded Juliana and Maria Antonelli Friday at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.
Long Beach, USA, July 25, 2014 — Two teams from the United States along with one tandem each from Australia, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic and Spain battled their way through two elimination rounds Friday to earn their place in Saturday morning’s women’s quarterfinals at the double-gender ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a US$1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam.

Saturday’s schedule will also include the women’s semifinals with all six women’s matches and the two men’s semifinals all scheduled for the stadium center court starting at 9:30 a.m. PT. With the event being held for the second straight year in Long Beach, Calif., the purpose-built site is located on the sands of the Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at

This year’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, is the third of four consecutive FIVB Grand Slam tournaments being held in four separate countries—Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United States and Austria. The tournament will be featured in extensive coverage by the NBC family of networks through Sunday. Overall the event is a SoCal beach festival that includes 4-person and 6-person recreational events, a youth tournament and nightly music concerts. The event also includes live or same-day telecasts split between NBC Sports Network, Universal Network and NBC TV Network.

Getting things started in rousing fashion Saturday morning, the matchups for the four quarterfinal matches have Brazil’s fifth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas vs. Germany’s third-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler;  USA’s 13th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Seat vs. Spain’s fourth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo; Australia’s 11th-seeded Taliqua Clancy/Louise Bawden vs. Slovak Republic’s 14th-seeded Dominika Nestarcova/Natalia Dubovcova and USA’s top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings vs. Netherlands’ eighth-seeded Marleen Van Iersel/Madelein Meppelink.

While all are regulars on the FIVB World Tour, none of the teams in the quarterfinals has met their opponent often. Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas is 1-0 against Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler, but the only meeting was in 2012, the series between USA’s Fendrick/Sweat is tied 1-1, Australia’s Bawden/Clancy have a 2-0 series edge over Slovak Republic’s Dubovcova/Nestarcova and USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings is 1-0 against Netherland’s Meppelink/Van Iersel.

Breaking down the round of 16 played Friday after the first elimination round, USA’s Ross/ Walsh Jennings hung tough to defeat Germany’s upset-minded 10th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Julie Sude in three sets, 21-18, 18-21 and 17-15 in 52 minutes; Brazil’s Bednarczuk/ Seixas had to fight through three tough sets as well to eliminate Italy’s 17th-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, 18-21, 21-19 and 15-11 in 58 minutes and Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo stopped Brazil’s seventh-seeded Taiana Lima/Fernanda Alves in another three-setter, 19-21, 26-24 and 15-12 in 59 minutes, the longest match of the round.

In the other matches of the round Netherlands’ Van Iersel/Meppelink knocked off Germany’s sixth-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, 26-24, 21-19 in 47 minutes; USA’s Fendrick/Seat recorded the upset of the day in defeating Brazil’s second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, 30-28, 21-17 in 53 minutes; Slovak Republic’s Nestarcova/ Dubovcova eliminated USA’s 12th-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross, 21-16, 21-11 in 32 minutes; Australia’s Clancy/Bawden overcame China’s ninth-seeded Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, 21-18, 21-14 in 37 minutes and Germany’s Holtwick/ Semmler outlasted Brazil’s 18th-seeded qualification team of Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, 21-17, 21-16 in 34 minutes.

The losers in the round of 16 are eliminated and leave Long Beach with official 17th-place finishes and purses of $9,000 per team.

With the largest seed breakthrough for the second straight day, USA’s Fendrick/Sweat stunned Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli and they were able to do it in two sets.

Commented Sweat after her team’s victory to advance to the quarterfinals, “It seems like the USA and Brazil always have a lot of teams in the tournaments so I think the rivalry stems from that. We're always playing each other at some point. We played that team last week and just got crushed. It felt good to come out and get a good win against them this time.

"We felt really good at the end of the first set and we pulled it out in overtime. We were in it the whole time I felt like. We were down a lot, but once we fought back kind of even, it felt like we were in control and it gave us some confidence going into the second set. In the second set we were relatively relaxed and didn’t make many mistakes and won it and the match. This is just awesome for us."

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam has used a format of a single-day qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments, round-robin pool play which began on Wednesday. It will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. With the event being held for the second straight year in Long Beach the purpose-built site is located on the sands of the Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. General admission is free to the event and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam, will be the 307th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 271st FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in Long Beach will split $70,000, silver will receive $52,000, bronze winners get $40,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $30,000 of the $1,000,000 total purse.

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