Juliana/Antonelli start from qualification tournament again
Shanghai, China, April 29, 2014 – Following a successful comeback at the season-opening Fuzhou Open last week, Brazil's legendary player Juliana Felisberta Da Silva and her new partner Maria Antonelli will again start from the qualification tournament as the women's action of the US$800,000 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Shanghai Grand Slam kick off Wednesday morning.
Juliana/Antonelli, who had finished runners-up to Kerri Walsh/April Ross of USA in Fuzhou, were seeded 10th in the 24-team QT and needed two victories in a row to make the Main Draw. They will meet Diana Zolnercikova/Martina Jakubsova from Czech Republic in a first round clash Wednesday morning with the winners to face Thailand's Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee in the second round.
Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa França 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.
"I sat out for one year, and I need a lot to play and I hope to play well," she said.
After two rounds of elimination matches, eight teams will earn their berths in the 32-team women's Main Draw tournament, which features newly crowned Fuzhou Open champions Walsh/Ross, defending Shanghai Grand Slam champions Talita Da Rocha Antunes/Taiana Lima from Brazil and Fuzhou Open bronze medalists Xue Chen/Xia Xinyi. Marleen Van Iersel, who had clinched the title in Shanghai with Sanne Keizer three years ago, is also among medal contenders with new partner Madelein Meppelink.
Last week’s season-opening US$150,000 FIVB Fuzhou Open got things go in resounding fashion. Italy, Brazil and the Netherlands won the men’s medals and USA, Brazil and China captured the podium in the women’s competition. The FIVB Fuzhou Open was the season opener for the 2014 FIVB World Tour and the first of seven double-gender FIVB Open tournaments on the 2014 calendar.
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 10 FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have US$1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.