Eight teams advance to women’s main draw at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
Two teams each from Canada and Russia along with one team each from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Poland and Switzerland all advanced to the 2014 FIVB World Tour main draw being held in Klagenfurt through Sunday in a purpose-built venue along side of picturesque Lake Wörthersee. Advancing were seven of the top eight qualification seeds a rarity not to have more seed breakthroughs in qualifying on the FIVB World Tour. Desperate to earn spots in the lucrative main draw, six of the eight advancement matches went to three sets to decide the advancing team.
Following Tuesday’s two elimination rounds in the event’s qualification tournament, the eight teams who have earned spots in the 32-team main draw are Switzerland’s top-seeded qualification team Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli, Canada’s second-seeded Sara Pavan/Heather Bansley, Brazil’s third-seeded Maria Clara Salgado/Liliane Maestrini, Russia’s fourth-seeded Alexandra Moiseeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva, Poland’s fifth-seeded Kinga Kolosinska/Monika Brzostek, Russia’s sixth-seeded Maria Prookopeva/Evgenia Ukolova, Canada’s eighth-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke and Kazakhstan’s 10th-seeded Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova.
RETURN TO KLAGENFURT
This year is an unprecedented 17th time in the last 18 years that the Lake Wörthersee site has hosted the international circuit. While the men’s world tour has been in Klagenfurt 16 straight times from 1997 through 2012 for this magical summer festival, the women’s world tour has been in Klagenfurt for 12 consecutive years from 2001 through 2012.
Staving off jet lag from flying from Los Angeles and arriving late Monday night, playing without her sister for one of the few times in her career not to mention her opponents is a daunting task to say the least. Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado did all of that and with new teammate Liliane Maestrini came from behind to earn one of the eight spots in the main draw by coming from behind to defeat Canada’s 14th-seeded Kacie MacTavish/Caleigh Whitaker in three sets, 26-28, 21-13 and 15-9 in 55 minutes.
With Salgado’s normal teammate her sister Carolina, who have played as a team nearly all of their careers, leaving for home after the USA event last week instead of after the Klagenfurt event as scheduled, Maestrini flew up early and the team did not have any practice time before the match.
Attempting to learn a lot in a hurry about playing together, the new Brazilian team was inconsistent some of the match and ran off points in spurts like the tiebreaker third set when they went on an 7-1 run to win the set and match after the score was tied at 8-8.
“It is very weird not play with my sister Carolina but I know that Lili and I will make a good team and it really showed today with a lot of positive things happening and learning quickly to play together. We have to be patient and let the matches come to us, but we made the first big hurdle to get into the main draw. At the end of the match we started serving better which set up some closing plays and we were in the right place at the right time when we made that last run to win it.”
Like Brazil’s Maria Clara, Switzerland’s Goricanec/Huberli fought off jet leg as well as Finland’s veteran sisters Emilia Nystrom/Erika Nystrom to advance to the main draw for the fourth time this season from the qualification tournament. Playing in their 21 FIVB World Tour event as a team, eliminated the Nystrom sisters in straight sets, 21-19, 21-18 in 35 minutes. It was the first time since the 2013 FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam in May of that year when the Nystrom sisters won in two sets.
Commenting after their surprising win against the veteran Nystrom sisters, Goricanec said, “This was very nice for us to beat the Nystrom sisters who beat us last year but we have really grown in our ability to play as a team and to have more confidence in tough matches. We are really pleased with how much we are improving and this match showed how far we have come since last May.”
LONE SEED BREAKTHROUGH
In the only seed breakthrough of the women’s qualification tournament, Kazakhstan’s Mashkova/Tsimbalova came from behind repeatedly to eliminate Germany’s seventh-seeded Jane Kohler/Anni Schumacher 22-24, 21-18 and 15-11 in 58 minutes, the longest qualifying match of the day,
BREAKIN’ IT DOWN
The FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam is using the FIVB format of a single-day qualification tournament on Tuesday for women and Wednesday for men to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments, round-robin pool play with begin on Wednesday for women and Thursday for men. It will conclude with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The event is being played on the purpose-built site located alongside Lake Wörthersee. Local event information is available at beachvolleyball.at.
Women’s single-elimination play will begin on Thursday and men’s on Friday with the women’s round of 16 and quarterfinals on Friday and men’s on Saturday. Women’s semifinals and men’s round of 16 and quarterfinals will be held on Saturday. The women’s medal matches closing the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam will be held on Saturday. On Sunday, the men’s semifinals and medal matches will conclude the event.
The total entry list for the 2014 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam includes 91 men’s teams from 34 countries and 78 women’s teams from 25 countries selected by their respective national federations.
FIVB WORLD TOUR WOMEN’S LEADERS
For the women, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli are still at the top with 4,680 points followed by USA’s April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings with 4,580 and Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas with 4,380 points.
In the 2014 FIVB World Tour women’s season earnings, continuing to lead is USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings with $254,000 followed by Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas second with $180,000, Brazil’s Juliana/Antonelli third with $179,375 and Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler fourth with $164,000.
As the host nation, Austria has three men’s and three women’s teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw. For the women, the main draw teams from Austria are Lisa Chuwama/Stefanie Schwaiger, Katharina Schutzenhofer/Lena Plesiutschnig and Barbara Hansel/Bianca Zass.
Additionally, Austria will have two men’s team and two women’s teams in their respective qualification tournaments. the two Austrian women’s qualification teams were Valeria Teufl/Cornelia Rimser and Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss.
Men’s championship team of the 2012 FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam was Netherland’s veteran Olympians Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil. Winning the 2012 women’s gold medal in Klagenfurt was the new Russian team of Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgenia Ukolova.
KLAGENFURT MEDAL COUNT
Through the 2012 event, Austria has hosted a total of 28 FIVB World Tour events (16 men, 12 women-all in Klagenfurt) during a 16-year period with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders. In the men’s totals, Brazil has 24 medals, followed by the USA with nine, Germany with five, Netherlands and Norway with three each, Switzerland with two and with one men’s medal each in Klagenfurt are Argentina and Russia.
After 12 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in Klagenfurt, Austria through 2012, Brazil leads the medal parade with 15 total medals followed by the USA with 11, Germany and China with four each, Netherlands with two and with one women’s medal in Klagenfurt are Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine.
J’s BACK, AND NOW LARISSA, TOO
After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the one-year 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. In addition to leading the women’s 2014 FIVB World Tour point standings and being third in earnings, overall the Juliana/Antonelli duo has a 52-16 record on this year’s FIVB World Tour, with three silver medals (Fuzhou, Puerto Vallarta, Berlin) and one bronze (The Hague). Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the 2013 FIVB Season Rankings.
Brazil’s Larissa is made her return to the FIVB in The Hague, teaming with 2013 FIVB season point champion and fellow Olympian Talita Antunes where they finished ninth in their first tournament back with a 3-1 record, losing only to Brazil’s eventual champions Lima/Alves and the new duo went 2-2 and finished ninth last week in the USA.
FIVB PURSE, TOURNEY TOTALS
The FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam is the 308th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 272 FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in Klagenfurt will split $57,000, silver will receive $43,000, bronze medalists get $32,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $24,000 of the $800,000 total purse.
THIS IS KLAGENFURT
Klagenfurt is the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. With a population of over 90,000, it is the sixth-largest city in the country. The city of Klagenfurt is located in southern Austria, midway across the nation, near the international border. It rests in the middle region, almost as far from Innsbruck, to the west, as from Vienna, to the northeast. Klagenfurt is elevated 446 meters (1,463 feet) above sea level. It is on Lake Wörthersee and on the Glan River. The city is surrounded by several forest-covered hills and mountains with heights of up to 1,000m (3,300ft). To the south is the Karawanken mountain range, which separates Carinthia from Slovenia and Italy.