Swiss delight as women lay down early marker at Gstaad Grand Slam
The Swiss pair were one of nine teams to finish the day with two wins from two.
Goricanec and Huberli opened by defeating European champions Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) and then followed up with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) win over the USA’s Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat.
It means that they are guaranteed a place in the elimination rounds and will be guaranteed to top their pool if they defeat Austria’s Stefanie Schwaiger and Barbara Hansel in their final pool fixture.
In the men’s competition eight teams battled through to the main draw over two round of qualification, with the main draw due to begin on Thursday.
Student and master roll into Gstaad main draw
Todd Rogers rolled back the years at the Gstaad Grand Slam as he and partner Theodore Brunner progressed to the main draw with a straight-sets win over Tiago De J Santos and Jefferson Santos Pereira.
The US-pair beat the Qatari’s 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) in only their third FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together.
Rogers and Brunner have known each other for over a decade from their time together at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rogers, a former Olympic and FIVB Beach Volleyball world champion, was coaching there at the time and recruited Brunner, a player he believes has the potential to go far in beach volleyball.
“He’s young and got at least two or three more Olympics he could possibly go to,” Rogers said.
“I’ve known Theo quite a while, basically since he was 17, 18 years old and this is a case of I want to see him do well and push him to be the best player he can be and today he was pretty good.”
Borger and Buthe seeking continued improvement in Gstaad
With one World Tour medal under their belt in 2014 Britta Buthe and Karla Borger showed that they are in the mood for more as the Gstaad Grand Slam women’s main draw got underway on Wednesday.
The German pair started off with a 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 19-17) win over their compatriots Chantal Laboureur and Anni Schumacher and then followed up by defeating Poland’s Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska 2-0 (21-12, 21-16).
This year they won their first Tour medal with bronze in front of their home fans in Berlin. However, they have reached the quarterfinals of tournaments five times in 2014, something they are aiming to remedy, starting in Gstaad.
“We have to be more consistent,” Borger said. “We have shown we can play really good games and we have shown that we can beat anybody, but when you want to be consistently reaching the semis and finals we have to do a little more and that is what we hope to do in the coming tournaments.
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, July 9 until Sunday July 13 when the men’s and women’s medal matches take place. It is the ninth event and the fifth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Transavia Hague Grand Slam which runs from July 15-20.