Eight teams earn men’s main draw spots at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
Advancing from the two rounds of qualifying are teams from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, 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.
While the women’s qualification tournament on Tuesday saw seven of the top eight qualification seeds advance, there was a much bigger shuffle in the men’s qualification tournament with just three of the top eight moving forward as well as three major seed breakthroughs each with a seed 16 positions lower winning to earn main draw spots. Five of the eight advancement matches in the second round of the qualifier went to three sets to decide the winners.
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 Brazil’s second-seeded Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, Switzerland’s third-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Marco Gerson, Poland’s fourth-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Italy’s ninth-seeded Paolo Ingrosso/Matteo Ingrosso, Chile’s 11th-seeded Marco Grimalt/Estaban Grimalt, Canada’s 16th-seeded Christian Redman/Maverick Hatch, France’s 21st-seeded Youssef Krou/Edourd Rowlandson and Czech Republic’s 23rd-seeded Robert Kufa/Martin Tichy.
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.
Playing in their 12th FIVB World Tour event as a team, Switzerland’s Gabathuler/Gerson advanced to the main draw with a two-set center court win over Estonia’s 14th-seeded Kristo Kollo/Rivo Vesik, 21-16, 21-19 in 33 minutes. After main draw seeds in Gstaad and Long Beach, the Swiss duo was back in the qualification tournament for the fifth time this year and the win allowed them to advance to four straight main draws from the qualification tournament.
With bronze medals on this year’s FIVB World Tour in Anapa Russia and Stavanger, Norway, the Swiss tandem is confidently moving to pool play and the main draw.
Gabathuler, 31, commented, “We have improved a lot in the two years since we last played them in a FIVB satellite event and we are playing regularly on the FIVB World Tour which they aren’t so I think our confidence level is much higher than there’s and both of those things contributed to a win today. We have been doing well in qualifiers this year but our goal is to earn enough points to start the tournaments in the main draw. We served well in the first set and the second set got close but we had enough confidence to make some plays at the end to close it out and keep playing in Klagenfurt. After winning the first set we didn’t have much pressure on us as we really do have a lot of confidence right now.”
Gerson, 21, said afterwards, “We were ready to play and very confident against this team from Estonia and it showed in the result. We hope to concentrate and keep the confidence going as it really does help you when the sets get close.”
MAJOR SEED BREAKTHROUGHS
The three biggest seed breakthroughs in the men’s qualification tournament saw USA’s top-seeded qualification team Nick Lucena/Ryan Doherty, Latvia’s fifth-seeded Martins Plavins/Aleksandrs Solovejs and Italy’s seventh-seeded Andrea Tomatis/Alex Ranghieri eliminated before the money rounds even began.
Canada’s Redmann/Hatch defeated USA’s Lucena/Doherty for the first time after two main draw losses this season in a tight three-set thriller, 28-26, 15-21 and 18-16 in 53 minutes. In the other major seed breakthrough, France’s Krou/Rowlandson upended Latvia’s Plavins/Solovejs in just two sets, 21-15, 21-11 in 34 minutes and Czech Republic’s Kufa/Tichy bouncing Italy’s Tomatis/Ranghieri in three sets, 16-21, 21-16 and 15-10 in 53 minutes. The two 53 minute matches tied for the longest of all the men’s qualification tournament matches.
Said Canada’s Hatch afterwards, “The Americans are a really good team but today was our day, even though the two sets we won went to overtime, we just made some great plays to finish them off, but it wasn’t one bit easy, that’s for sure. You could say that the third time was the charm for us. We both seem to be stuck in the qualification tournaments but this is the first time we had to meet in it as the other two times were both in the main draw.”
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. 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 women’s competition at the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam will be held on Saturday. On Sunday, the men’s semifinals and medal matches will conclude the event.
As the host nation, Austria has three men’s and three women’s teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw. For the men, the Austrian teams in the main draw are Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl and Tobias Winter/Lorenz Petutschnig.
Additionally, Austria has two men’s team and two women’s teams in their respective qualification tournaments. The two men’s qualification teams from Austria were Daniel Mullner/Jorg Wutzl and Thomas Kunert/Christoph Dressler and both were eliminated with losses in the qualifier.
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.
FIVB WORLD TOUR MEN’S LEADERS
USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal duo continues as the men’s point leader on the 2014 FIVB World Tour with 4,720 points. Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins tandem is second with 4,010 followed by Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt with 3,810 points.
In the 2014 FIVB World Tour men’s season earnings, the leading team continues to be USA’s Dalhausser/Rosenthal with $294,000 followed by Poland’s Gregorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel with $201,000 and Brazil’s Alison/Schmidt third with $162,000.
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.
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.