Seven undefeated as women's pool play finishes at 1to1 energy Grand Slam
Gstaad, Switzerland, July 5, 2012—With the threatening weather system continuing to hover overhead, 32 women’s teams created their own storms on the sand as pool play was completed Thursday with 24 teams advancing to Friday’s start of the single-elimination portion at the double-gender $600,000 1to1 energy Grand Slam in Gstaad, Switzerland.
It’s never easy to leave a place you like so much, but in the case of Gstaad Thursday, eight women’s teams were forced to bid “Uf Widrluaga” to this magical valley nestled in the Swiss Alps as the rain-delayed pool play was completed Thursday that sent eight teams away from the majestic mountains and the inspiring village. Single-elimination bracket play will begin Friday morning.
The 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour continues in Gstaad as the world’s top tandems have returned to Switzerland as the double-gender event marks the 13th consecutive visit by the world tour with Gstaad hosting 11 men’s and 12 previous women’s events. Village Gstaad is nestled in a magnificent valley in Southwestern Switzerland at 3,440-feet (1,050 meters) above sea-level, the highest altitude a FIVB SWATCH World Tour stop is held annually.
Friday’s schedule will have the teams playing through the quarterfinals with the semifinals and medal matches to be held on the Gstaad stadium center court on Saturday.
SEVEN IN 3-0 HEAVEN
The fifth of an FIVB-record eight grand slams on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour schedule, the 1to1 energy Grand Slam began with women’s country quota matches on Monday continued with the single elimination qualification tournament on Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw held Wednesday through Friday. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, and started one day later with country quota matches on Tuesday.
BREAKING IT DOWN
Pool D ended up with a three-way tie with 2-1 records between USA’s fourth-seeded Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, Belgium’s 13th-seeded Katrien Gielen/Liesbeth Mouha and Switzerland’s 29th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Romana Kayser. Based on tie-breaker rules, USA’s Kessy/Ross were declared winners of the pool.
Winning their pools with not only 3-0 records, but also unblemished in going 6-0 in sets were Italy’s Cicolari/Manegatti, Netherlands’ Meppelink/van Gestel and USA’s three-time Gstaad champions May-Treanor/Walsh.
The eight pools winners will have a bye into the second round of single-elimination play on Friday with the second and third place teams in each pool meeting in the first round of single-elimination action.
Both teams are expected to represent the Netherlands in London later this month with the official team lineup to be announced on July 9 by the FIVB. Ironically, Meppelink/van Gestel are in their first full season on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour as van Gestel just last September is still competing in under-21 year old events and won the bronze medal in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Today, Meppelink/van Gestel finished pool play with a two-set win over Slovenia’s Simona Fabjan/Andreja Vodeb, 21-13, 21-18 in 32 minutes.
Afterwards, van Gestal said, “We did our things and we did them well. We are first in our pool and that’s great. The qualification for the Netherlands for the Olympic Games last week in Moscow gives us wings. We hope that we can win many more matches here in Gstaad, it is so beautiful here.”
MORE QUOTES, PLEASE
Reflecting as well was Kuhn, saying, “We had a wonderful tournament in winning in Rome two weeks ago, But it is not easy coming to our home country after a big gold medal like that. It is a totally new tournament and we have to start again at the very beginning. Of course we could gain a lot of confidence by our victories. The matches were close, it looks easy on paper with three wins in three matches, but it wasn’t easy at all. Every team tries to trip us and they are especially motivated against us, not only because we are the top team from Switzerland but that we won the gold medal at the Rome Grand Slam.”
Following their two-set victory Thursday over Austria’s Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger today, USA’s Walsh said, “The score wasn’t close at all, but the Schwaiger sisters put a lot of pressure on us during the match. We want to grow and learn during the tournament all the way to the finals. Our goal is to win here in Gstaad again. I remember when we won the 2007 FIVB SWATCH World Championships here. I love Cowbells (special custom trophy for the winners) and we really want to get one.”
May-Treanor/Walsh have won five gold medals in Gstaad overall, including the 2007 world championships.
GRAND GSTAAD GUARANTEES
TOP PLAYERS RETURN
Representing eight years, the two returning women’s gold medal winners in Gstaad are Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa (2005, 2010 and 2011) and USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007). May-Treanor/Walsh’s victory in 2007 was for their third FIVB SWATCH World Championship.
GREAT GSTAAD FIELD
FIVB SWATCH WORLD TOUR CALENDAR
ALL ABOARD FOR BERLIN
LONG FIVB HISTORY