Women’s field set for round of 16, quarterfinals at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
Four teams from Brazil and three from Germany along with one team each from Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States advanced from last of three pool play matches and survived the first round of single-eliminations Thursday at the 2014 FIVB World Tour stop being held in Klagenfurt through Sunday in a purpose-built venue along side of picturesque Lake Wörthersee. Local event information, including live scoring, match play-by-play and statistics are available at beachvolleyball.at.
Women’s action Friday will see the round of 16 elimination matches in the morning and the quarterfinals in the afternoon. Saturday’s schedule for the women will have the semifinals followed by the medal matches. The men will have their semifinals and medal matches on Sunday to conclude the 2014 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam.
ROUND OF 16 MATCHUPS
Earning a bye into the second round of single-elimination play, the eight pool winners will begin Friday’s schedule by facing the winners of Thursday’s first round of elimination matches involving the second and third place teams in each pool.
The first four round of 16 matches Friday morning’s will have USA’s top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings being challenged by Germany’s ninth-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe; Brazil’s 19th-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes battling Czech Republic’s second-seeded Marketa Slukova/Kristyna Kolocova; Brazil’s third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas meeting Russia’s 26th-seeded Alexandra Moiseeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva and Austria’s 10th-seeded Lena Plesiutsctnig/Katharina Schutzenhofer facing Brazil’s fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta.
In the second half of the round of 16 matches, Germany’s 16th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Julia Sude and Germany’s fifth-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler will meet in an all-German battle, Spain’s sixth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo up against Switzerland’s 17th-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich, Netherlands’ seventh-seeded Marleen Van Iersel/Madelein Meppelink facing off against Brazil’s 11th-seeded Taiana Lima/Fernanda Alves and Italy’s 22nd-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth meeting Canada’s 24th-seeded Sara Pavan/Heather Bansley
The losers in the round of 16 will be eliminated and leave Klagenfurt with official 17th-place finishes and purses of $7,000 per team.
FIRST ELIMINATION ROUND
In the first four elimination matches Thursday afternoon, Germany’s Borger/Buthe eliminated Australia’s 13th-seeded LouiseBawden/Taliqua Clancy, 21-13, 21-19 in 35 minutes; Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth stopped Slovak Republic’s 14th-seeded Dominika Nestarcova/Natalia Dubovcova, 21-10, 21-13 in 35 minutes; Brazil’s Lima/Alves beat Canada’s 31st-seeded Jamie Lynn Broder/Kristina Valjas, 21-18, 21-19 in 35 minutes; Austria’s Plesiutsctnig/Schutzenhofer overcame Russia’s 28th-seeded Maria Prokopeva/Evgenia Ukolova, 21-19, 21-16 in 35 minutes.
In the other four first elimination round match held yesterday, Russia’s Moiseeva/Syrtseva eliminated Switzerland’s 21st-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, 21-15, 21-18 in 37 minutes; Germany’s Ludwig/Sude bounced USA’s 18th-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross, 21-11, 21-16 in just 30 minutes; Switzerland’s Zumkehr/Heidrich overcame Brazil’s 25th-seeded Maria Clara Salgado/Liliane Maestrini, 19-21, 21-19 and 15-12 in 53 minutes and Brazil’s Larissa/Antunes came from behind to hold off Switzerland’s 20th-seeded Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli, 19-21, 21-18 and 15-9 in 48 minutes.
The losers in the knockout round of 24 are eliminated and leave Klagenfurt with official 25th-place finishes and purses of $4,000 per team.
The winners of all eight pools were undefeated with 3-0 records in round robin play and the top seven seeds in the tournament won their groups along with a surprising 24th-seed who came from the qualification tournament.
The pool winners were USA’s top-seeded A. Ross/Walsh Jennings, Czech Republic’s second-seeded Slukova/Kolocova, Brazil’s third-seeded Bednarczuk/Seixas, Brazil’s fourth-seeded Antonelli/Juliana, Germany’s fifth-seeded Holtwick/Semmler, Spain’s sixth-seeded Fernandez/Baquerizo, Netherlands’ seventh-seeded Van Iersel/Meppelink and Canada’s 24th-seeded Pavan/Bansley.
POOL PLAY PERFECTION
While all eight pool winners were 3-0 in Klagenfurt, the only team undefeated for the year in pool play with a 27-0 match record is USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings. Thursday, they completed their Austrian pool play sweep with a two-set victory over Germany’s Ludwig/Sude. The Germans took the Americans to three tough sets before bowing in Long Beach last week in the round of 16. Thursday, USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings seemed to play a more relaxed match instead of the nervous match they played in their home country, defeating Germany’s Ludwig/Sude this time by a score of 21-16, 21-16 in just 34 minutes.
Advancing to the round of 16 for the ninth consecutive 2014 FIVB World Tour event, USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings now have a 45-2 FIVB match record for the year. Walsh Jennings has won the gold medal at the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam six times including her last appearance in Austria in 2011 with now-retired Misty May-Treanor with whom Walsh Jennings won three Olympic gold medals.
Speaking after her team’s win over Germany, Walsh Jennings said, “This is a great win for us, the slight rain didn´t bother us at all. We have a very good rhythm and we didn’t make many mistakes so we were able to keep the Germans from making a strong run at us this time. Last week in Long Beach, on our home sand, they almost beat us but we got by 17-15 in the tiebreaker set.”
“The competition is extremely tough, especially at this FIVB Grand Slam. It feels great to be back in Klagenfurt after not competing in this tournament for a couple of years. It is a first class tournament – from player treatment to the sand – everything is perfect, we feel right at home here in Klagenfurt. We can’t wait to play again on center court and experience one of the all-time great crowds in the history of beach volleyball.”
Playing in just their fourth FIVB World Tour event as a team, Germany’s Ludwig/Sude as Ludwig’s previous teammate Kira Walkenhorst was forced to the sideline for the rest of the year with a serious virus. The new German duo finished pool play with a 2-1 record to advance to the single-elimination rounds.
TEAM AUSTRIA UPDATE
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 were Lisa Chuwama/Stefanie Schwaiger (0-3 in pool play Thursday), Lena Plesiutschnig/Katharina Schutzenhofer (1-2) and Barbara Hansel/Bianca Zass (0-3). Schutzenhofer/Plesiutschnig duo was the only team to advance from pool play into the single elimination rounds.
Both just 20 years old, Austria’s Plesiutschnig/Schutzenhofer thrilled and repeatedly brought to their collective feet the packed Klagenfurt center court crowd to stun Russia’s Prokopeva/Ukolova. In 2012, Ukolova won the women’s gold medal at the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam with Ekaterina Khomyakova.
Playing in just their ninth FIVB World Tour event, Plesiutschnig credited the huge pro-Austrian crowd with helping them win the match, saying, “We wanted to enter this match and give everything we had to give, playing as hard as we could. I can’t grasp yet tht we managed to get the win. I give a huge thank you to all the fans in the stadium. They were cheering so hard for us it definitely gave us a lot of energy.”
Schutzenhofer said afterwards, “I’m completely overwhelmed this is such a great win for us. We tried to ignore the importance of the match and just played the best beach volleyball we could. We faced a tough opponent, but still managed to play to our full potential. Obviously the crowd gave us a huge push. There is absolutely nothing like playing on center court in Klagenfurt.”
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.