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2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resumes in Lucerne, Switzerland

Home-country stars Anouk Verge-Depre, left and Isabelle Forrer will be helping lead Switzerland in this week's FIVB Lucerne Open as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour visits the home country of the FIVB, the first time to Lucerne.
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 10, 2015 — Following a two-week break after opening the season in Fuzhou, China, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) resumes the Olympic qualifying window for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil with round 2 of its 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour this week in Switzerland at the double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Lucerne Open 2015. Visiting Lucerne for the first time, the FIVB World Tour stop will be held on the purpose-built site on the sands of Strandbad Lido on the shores of Lake Lucerne.

This week’s FIVB Lucerne Open will see women’s action starting Tuesday and men’s competition running from Wednesday with the medal matches for both genders on Sunday. The tournament format will have 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 and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The women’s semifinals will be held on Saturday with the men’s semis on Sunday prior to the medal matches. Country quota playoffs as needed will be held on Monday for the women and Tuesday for the men.

Expanding the enthusiasm of a new season, a total of 83 men’s teams from 38 countries selected by their national federations and 67 women’s teams from 29 countries selected by their federations are officially entered in the talented field in the FIVB Lucerne Open with numerous athletes teamed with different partners for the 2015 season.

While this will be the first time the FIVB World Tour has stopped in Lucerne, the tour has a long history in the picturesque mountain village of Gstaad, Switzerland that dates back to 2000 for the women and 2001 for the men.

All held in Gstaad, has hosted 29 FIVB World Tour events through 2014, including 15 women’s and 14 men’s tournaments. Host country Switzerland has won four medals on its country’s soil, including one men’s gold, silver and bronze and one women’s bronze medal.

In addition to the FIVB Lucerne Open, the other stop scheduled in Switzerland in 2015 on the FIVB international schedule will be the vastly popular FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam (July 7-12). Both will be double-gender events.

Lucerne is a city in central in Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. The capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name with a population of about 80,500, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications and government in this region. The city's urban area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.

As the host nation, Switzerland four women’s teams and three men’s teams pre-seeded into the main draw. For the women, Switzerland’s teams are Nina Betschart/Nicole Eiholzerm, Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli and Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr. The men’s teams pre-seeded from Switzerland are Nico Beeler/Alexei Strasser, Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson and Jonas Kissling/Mats Kovatsch.

Switzerland also has one men’s team in the qualification tournament and  two more on the men’s reserve list while one Swiss women’s team is on the women’s reserve list. The men’s team in the qualification tournament is Sebastian Chevallier/Marco Krattiger and the two on reserve are Quentin Metral/Michiel Zandbergen and Andreas Sutter/Roman Sutter. The women’s reserve team from Switzerland is Dunja Gerson/Tanya Guerra Arias-Schmocker.

For the FIVB Lucerne Open, top women’s seeds are Switzerland’s top-seeded Heidrich/Zumkehr, Germany’s No. 2 Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Spain’s No. 3 Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Germany’s No. 4 Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and Netherlands’ No.5 Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel.

Top seeds for the men are Poland’s top-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Purdel, Italy’s No. 2 Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Latvia’s No. 3 Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Germany’s No. 4 Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik and Russia’s No. 5 Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia.

The 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour schedule will include five FIVB Grand Slams, the new Swatch FIVB Major Series of four events, six FIVB Opens and a special Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in the United States. A showcase event will be the $1 million 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands (June 26-July 5).

A total of 15 countries will host events this year as the 2015 FIVB World Tour also begins the Olympic qualification process with all FIVB World Tour events (except the FIVB World Tour Finals) in 2015 up until June 13, 2016 counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 spots for each gender that will take part in each 24-team field in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The FIVB Grand Slam and Swatch FIVB Major Series competitions, all double-gender each have $800,000 in total purses. The total purse FIVB World Championships the Netherlands 2015 will be $1,000,000 and $500,000 total for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final which will feature the top eight teams in each gender.

The nine FIVB Open tournaments in 2015, seven double-gender, one men only and one women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Lucerne 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.

Implemented in 2013, the format of all the FIVB Beach Volleyball international tournaments – whether FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam or FIVB Beach Volleyball Open – are the same, featuring pool play followed by single elimination knockout rounds. Country Quota playoffs will return as needed in 2015 to determine the final teams for the qualification tournament.

Following this week’s visit to the FIVB’s homeland, next week the lone women’s-only open of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar will be the FIVB Prague Open in the Czech Republic from May 20-24 followed by the first of five grand slams with the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam in Russia from May 26-31 to conclude the month’s schedule.

The FIVB Lucerne Open will be the 316th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 279th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

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