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FIVB Beach Volley World Tour moves to FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam

After earning the silver medal in Moscow Sunday, Brazil's defending FIVB World Tour point champions Taina Lima, left, and Talita Antunes are poised to defend their tournament title at this week's US$800,000 FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam in Germany.
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 16, 2014 — Germany takes center stage this week as the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) will see its 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour present the double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam. The FIVB World Tour is in Germany for the 15th time for men and the ninth time for a women’s tournament.

All of the FIVB World Tour events have been held in Berlin and this will be the third straight year Berlin has hosted an FIVB World Tour stop. Berlin also hosted the 2005 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and this week’s tournament will be held at Washingtonplatz, the Main Train Station in Germany’s capital city.

The third of 10 FIVB Grand Slam events in 2014, the FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam will run from Tuesday through Sunday for women and Wednesday through Sunday for men. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament on Tuesday for women (Wednesday for men) 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 men’s semifinals and medal matches will be held Sunday while the women’s semis will be on Saturday and the women’s medal matches on Sunday.

The field for the 2014 FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam includes 90 men’s teams from 32 countries and 63 women’s teams from 23 countries selected by their national federations.

After five men’s and six women’s events the top three  FIVB World Tour point leaders and the top three  FIVB World Tour money leaders come seven countries-Brazil, China, Italy, Germany, Latvia, Russia and the United States. All are among the entries for this week’s FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam.

The men’s point leaders are Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins with 2050 points and one gold medal while second is Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai with 1,860 points and two gold medals while third is Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov with 1,670 points and one gold medal points. For the men’s money leaders on top is Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai with $92,000 following by Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins with $75,500 and third is Russia’s Semenov/Rasilnikov third with $73,200.

The women’s point leaders are China’s Chen Xue/Xinyi Xia with 2,060 points followed by Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli with 2,,040 points and third is China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue with 1,980 points. For the money leaders, on top is April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States with $85,000 and two gold medals, with Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima second with $73,750 and Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst third with $65,000 and one gold medal.

As the host nation, Germany has three teams automatically pre-seeded along with one wild card into the main draw in both genders. For the men, the German teams in the main draw are Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, Markus Bockermann/Mischa Urbatzka, Sebastian Dollinger/Lars Fluggen and Alexander Walkenhorst/Stefan Windcheif. For the women, the German main draw teams are Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude.

Additionally, Germany has one team in each qualification tournament – Finn Dittelbach/Eric Koreng for the men and Teresa Mersmann/Isabel Schneider for the women. The host country also has two teams listed in each gender as reserve entries.  The men’s German reserve teams are Armin Dollinger/Clemens Wickler and Bennet Poniewaz/David Poniewaz.  The women’s reserve teams from Germany areJana Kohler/Anni Schumacher and Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner.

After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva has returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012,the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Juliana/Antonelli duo has advanced to the main draw after playing in three qualification tournaments this year and the team is listed for the qualifier in Berlin as well. Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the FIVB World Rankings. Overall Juliana/Antonelli duo has a 27-7 record on this year’s FIVB World Tour.

Men’s championship team of the 2013 FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam was the Brazilian first-time gold medal winning team of Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves while winning the 2013 women’s gold medal in Berlin was Brazil’s duo of Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima. Both defending champion teams are entered in this year’s FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam.

Last week’s FIVB Moscow Grand Slam started a string of seven FIVB Grand Slams to be held over an eight-week window.

Through 2013, Germany has hosted a total of 22 FIVB World Tour events (14 men, 8 women all in Berlin) with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders.  In the men’s totals through 14 tournaments, Brazil has 17, followed by Germany and Switzerland with four each, Argentina, Norway, Spain and the United States with three each, Australia with two and with one each men’s medals are Canada, Poland and Russia.

After eight FIVB World Tour women’s events held in Germany (Berlin) through last year, Brazil leads the medal parade with eight total medals followed by the USA with seven, China with four and with one each women’s medals are Australia, Cuba, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The gold medal teams in the FIVB Berlin smart Grand slam will each split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday while also on Sunday will be the men’s semifinals and medal matches.

The FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam will be the 303nd FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 267th FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992.

After Moscow, the FIVB World Tour continues its seven-event swing through Europe. There are four more double-gender FIVB Grand Slams over five weeks. After last week’s FIVB Moscow Grand Slam in Russia will be this week’s FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam in Germany, the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam in Norway (June 24-28), the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland (July 8-13) and finally the FIVB Transavia Grand Slam played in four different cities in the Netherlands (July 15-20) but based in The Hague.

The FIVB Grand Slams in Moscow, Berlin, Stavanger and Gstaad have purses of $800,000 each while the event in the Netherlands has an FIVB Grand Slam-record purse of $1 million.

With a population of 3.4 million people, Berlin is Germany's capital, largest city and is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the River Spree, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about 4.5 million residents from over 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.


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