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Talking stats: 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - June 3

Following the FIVB Anapa Open there are even more interesting stats to talk about as the FIVB World Tour takes a one-week break before resuming with three consecutive $800,000 FIVB Grand Slams starting next week in Moscow.
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 3, 2014 — With five women’s events and four men’s tournaments in the history books, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) has even more information to talk stats about with its 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. This week, the FIVB World Tour has a week off before resuming with three consecutive US$800,000 FIVB Grand Slams starting in Moscow next Tuesday.

As we continue to savor the flavor around the net with interesting morsels of stats from the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, here are some more snacks to munch on this week:

•    European Confederation dominates final four – All four semi-final teams for both genders in the FIVB Anapa Open were from the European Confederation.  This has never happened on the FIVB World Tour.  It’s the third time the women have accomplished this, with the other two times occurring at the FIVB Aland Open in 2012 and last week in the FIVB Prague Open.  The only previous time it occurred for the men was at the FIVB Anapa Open last season.

•    Russia places two women’s teams on the podium – Host country Russia may not have won gold in Anapa, but they did place two teams on the podium with Alexandra Shiryaeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva winning the silver and Maria Prokopeva/Evgeniya Ukolova bringing home bronze.  The only other time Russia placed two teams on the podium was at last season’s FIVB Anapa Open when Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova won the gold and Prokopeva won the bronze with Svetlana Popova.  The Russian men also placed two teams on the podium at last season’s FIVB Anapa Open – the only time they have accomplished this feat.

•    Spanish Qualifiers in the final four – Spain’s Angela Lobato/Paula Soria may have been shut out of finishing on the podium, but the pair made quite an impression by finishing fourth in just their second FIVB World Tour event each.  Last weekend at the FIVB Prague Open, they failed win a match in the qualification tournament, finishing 41st.  Helped this week by a small field in the qualifier, they made it into the main draw without having to play a match.  The Spaniards took advantage of their rest to finish with a 4-3 record in Anapa, defeating higher-seeded teams from China, Venezuela, Germany, and the Czech Republic along the way.  Despite their winning record, they have yet to defeat a team from Russia, losing in Prague to Ksenia Dabizha/Anna Gorbunova and in Anapa to Nadezda Magroguzova/Daria Rudykh in pool play and Maria Prokopeva/Evgeniya Ukolova in the semi-finals.

•    Women’s qualifiers improve in Pool Play – Led by the Spanish team making the final four, five women’s qualifying teams advanced past pool play at the FIVB Anapa Open to finish 4th, three 9ths, and a 17th.  It’s only the second time in the five events on the FIVB World Tour this season that more than three women’s qualification teams have advanced into the 24-team single elimination round.

•    Germany still perfect in qualifying – With Jana Kohler/Anni Schumacher helped by the automatic pass into the main draw without having to play a match, Germany is still a perfect five for five in qualifying on the FIVB World Tour this season.  Germany started off with Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude qualifying at the FIVB Fuzhou Open, Anapa gold medalists Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner followed at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam and the FIVB Prague Open, with Kim Behrens/Sandra Seyfferth qualifying at the Puerto Vallarta Open in between those two.

•    United States still perfect advancing from pool play – Despite having only one team in the FIVB Anapa Open, the lowest-seeded team, the United States stayed a perfect nine for nine in main draw teams advancing into the 24-team single elimination round.  Germany is a close second at 19 for 20 after advancing all four main draw teams past pool play at the FIVB Anapa Open.  Third place Brazil didn’t have any teams entered, and Russia improved to eight out of ten after advancing four of their five teams at the event in their home country.

•    Switzerland places two men’s teams in the final four – Sebastian Chevallier/Alexei Prawdzic and Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson became the first two Swiss pairs to make the semifinals together in a FIVB World Tour event in almost nine years.  Switzerland accomplished this three times in the 2004 and 2005 seasons with four different teams.  Martin and Paul Laciga and Markus Egger/Sascha Heyer won gold and silver, respectively at the FIVB Mallorca Open in 2004, Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel and Egger/Heyer won silver and bronze, respectively at the FIVB Brazil Open in 2004, and Heuscher/Kobel and Heyer/Paul Laciga won gold and finished 4th at the FIVB Paris Grand Slam in July of 2005.  The Laciga brothers and Heuscher/Kobel also won silver and finished 4th at the FIVB Germany Open in 2001.  Before the Anapa Open, Switzerland hadn’t placed even one team in the final four of an FIVB World Tour event since Chevallier and Sascha Heyer won the bronze at the Rome Grand Slam in June of 2012.  

•    Latvia wins back-to-back gold medals – Latvian’s Martins Plavins/Aleksandrs Solovejs gold medal in Anapa follows up fellow countrymen’s, Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, gold at the last men’s FIVB World Tour event in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  This is only the sixth title for the European Country, and the first time winning consecutive gold medals.  Expect Latvia to continue this success; they have placed a team in the final four of all four FIVB World Tour men’s events this season and seven of the last eight including an all-Latvian gold medal match at last season’s finale in the FIVB Durban Open with Samoilovs/Smedins defeating Plavins/Solovejs.

•    Qatar continues to improve – Earlier this season at the FIVB Fuzhou Open, Tiago Santos/Jefferson Santos Pereira became the first team representing Qatar to win an FIVB World Tour match en route to a 9th-place finish.  After a 17th-place in the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam, the tiny Asian nation had its best finish ever, taking 5th place in the FIVB Anapa Open.

•    Welcome back Estonia – Men’s teams from Estonia have fallen on hard times lately with only one team finishing higher than 25th since the 2011 FIVB World Championships in Rome.  With a best finish of one 9th-place in the 23 tournaments Estonia entered during that span, the Estonians fired back with a vengeance at the FIVB Anapa Open as Kristo Kollo/Rivo Vesik finished 5th, the best country’s finish since a 4th-place finish at the FIVB The Hague Open in August of 2009 .

Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, 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 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.

The 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 $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.

The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two 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.

As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships (Acapulco, Mexico, July 15-20) will debut this year while the U23 FIVB World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual U21 FIVB World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual U19 FIVB World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).


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