Women’s final four ready for Saturday’s finale at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
Each team in the women’s final four won both their round of 16 and quarterfinal matches Friday at the 2014 FIVB World Tour stop being held in Klagenfurt through Sunday in a purpose-built venue at picturesque Klagenfurt Am Wörthersee.
Women’s action Saturday will see the semifinal matches in the morning and the medal matches in the afternoon in the Klagenfurt stadium center court. The men will have their semifinals and medal matches on Sunday to conclude the 2014 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam. Local event information, including live scoring, match play-by-play and statistics are available at www.beachvolleyball.at.
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 272nd 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.
Saturday’s women final day in Klagenfurt will start in the morning with the semifinal matches followed be the bronze medal and gold medal matches in the afternoon.
Meeting in the first semifinal will be Brazil’s fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta facing off in the Klagenfurt sand with Italy’s 22nd-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth.
The second semifinal will be an-all Brazilian semifinal Brazil’s third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas in a duel to the finish with 19th-seeded compatriots Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes. It will be a rematch of a pool play match between the two teams, won in two sets by Bednarczuk/Seixas on Wednesday.
In the first semifinal, Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana, 5-0 in Klagenfurt, are playing in their 11th FIVB World Tour event and sixth final four as a team. Individually, Antonelli has played in 101 FIVB World Tour events with 11 FIVB career gold medals while Juliana is playing in her 123rd FIVB tournament overall with 46 FIVB career gold medals.
Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth, 5-1, are playing in just their 14th FIVB World Tour event and this is their third final four appearance. The two teams have met once before this season, with Antonelli/Juliana winning in straight sets in Fuzhou, China back in April of this year.
In the all-Brazilian semifinal, Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas, 5-0 in Klagenfurt, duo is playing in their 19th FIVB World Tour event together and this is their fifth final four appearance with one gold medal, this year at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico. Individually Bednarczuk is playing in her 74th FIVB career tournament while Seixas is playing in her 39th.
On the other side of the net, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita, 5-1, are playing in just their third FIVB World Tour event as a team and this is their first final four after a pair of ninth-place finishes in the Hague and Long Beach. Individually, Larissa is playing in her 118th FIVB career event with 46 career FIVB gold medals while Talita is playing in her 134th FIVB World Tour event with 18 FIVB career gold medals.
As expected, the quarterfinal matches brought out the best in all eight teams battling in the Klagenfurt sand.
In a match where the effort by both teams was cheered by the overflow crowd packed into the Klagenfurt stadium center court, Brazil’s Antonelli/Felisberta started slowly, came from behind and scored when it counted most to win in three sets over the Netherlands’ seventh-seeded Marleen Van Iersel/Madelein Meppelink, 14-21, 21-19 and 15-11 in 57 minutes. It was a tiebreaker match between the two new teams that feature veteran plays and the Brazilians now hold a 2-1 edge in the young series.
Playing on a side-court in Klagenfurt, Italy’s 22nd-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth found the right recipe to play consistent and upset Germany’s eighth-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe in straight sets, 21-19, 21-17 in 39 minutes.
Enjoying every second of the enthusiastic stadium center court crowd that continued to chant, cheer, encourage and sing-along while appreciating the great play of both teams, Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas turned the tables and won the second meeting between the two new teams with veteran players, stopping Germany’s 16th-seeded Laura Ludwig/Julia Sude in two sets, 25-23, 21-17 in 40 minutes.
The newest weapon in their country’s arsenal of great teams, playing just their third FIVB World Tour event together Brazil’s 19th-seeded Larissa/Talita played on a side-court in just their third FIVB World Tour event, toppled Spain’s sixth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo in two sets, 21-15, 21-16 in 34 minutes. Both Larissa and Talita are veteran Olympians and both former FIVB World Tour point champions.
The Netherlands’ Van Iersel, 4-1 in Klagenfurt, Germany’s Borger/Buthe, 3-3, Germany’s Ludwig/Sude, 4-2 and Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo, 4-2, all leave Klagenfurt with official fifth-place finishes and purses of $17,000 per team.
After her team’s three-set quarterfinal win, Antonelli said, “I am so happy to be back playing in Klagenfurt. You can feel the great spirit that all players and fans bring to this tournament. There is a reason I usually get good results in Klagenfurt and the fans are a huge part of it. In our match today, we started very slow, regrouped and got our job done with good defense.”
Her teammate Juliana commented, “Playing on center court in Klagenfurt is an amazing experience. The fans really understand the game of beach volleyball and you can see, hear and feel their emotions as they follow every point we play. I love it. Playing against the ladies from the Netherlands is always really, really tough for us and the games are decided by the tiniest things—one block, side out or serve can make the difference. I really look forward to our next match now that we survived this one and learned a lot more about playing together.”
ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
Friday morning began with the women’s round of 16 which saw one major upset and the lower-seeded team advancing to the quarterfinals in the other seven matches.
In the first four matches of the round of 16, Germany’s Borger/Buthe got the morning started with a real eye-opener, upsetting USA’s top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings in three sets, 21-18, 16-21 and 15-10 in 46 minutes; Brazil’s Larissa/Talita came from behind to defeat Czech Republic’s second-seeded Marketa Slukova/Kristyna Kolocova, 26-28, 21-15 and 15-11 in 54 minutes; Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas eliminated Russia’s 26th-seeded Alexandra Moiseeva/Ekaterina Syrtseva, 21-17, 21-13 in 34 minutes and Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana enjoyed an early-bird packed house on the Klagenfurt center court by quickly eliminating Austria’s 10th-seeded home-country duo Lena Plesiutsctnig/Katharina Schutzenhofer, 21-6, 21-13 in just 31 minutes.
In the other four matches of the round of 16, Germany’s Ludwig/Sude won the all-German battle over Germany’s fifth-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler in two sets, 22-20, 21-17 in 42 minutes; Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo came back to beat Switzerland’s 17th-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich, 17-21, 21-18 and 15-11 in 55 minutes; Netherlands’ Van Iersel/Meppelink toppled Brazil’s 11th-seeded Taiana Lima/Fernanda Alves, 21-17, 21-19 in 39 minutes and Italy’s Menegatti/ Orsi Toth held on to outlast the valiant effort by Canada’s 24th-seeded Sara Pavan/Heather Bansley, 21-15, 15-21 and 18-16 in 53 minutes.
The losers in the round of 16 were eliminated and leave Klagenfurt with official ninth-place finishes and purses of $11,000 per team.
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 (2-3) and Barbara Hansel/Bianca Zass (0-3). Schutzenhofer/Plesiutschnig duo was the only team to advance from pool play into the single elimination rounds and they were eliminated in the round of 16 Friday by Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana and receive a ninth-place finish.
Arguably the most popular event of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue features a purpose-built 8,000-seat stadium center court and massive two-story VIP hospitality area and private dock along with another private players dock alongside the shore of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in Southern Austria.