Stavanger, Norway, June 9, 2015 - After a day of playing 24 qualification matches to advance eight women's teams to Wednesday's opening Main Draw rounds in the US$800,000 Stavanger Major, the "major" news of the day was the late withdrawal of the expected top seeds in SWATCH Major Series event - Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.
The gold medal winners of the last two FIVB World Tour stops in Russia and Croatia, Talita and Larissa were replaced in the 32-team Main Draw field by Argentina's Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug. The Argentina pair won the "lucky losers" draw among the top two-seeded pairs losing in the final round of qualification.
According to reports, Talita withdrew from the Stavanger Major due to injury. Due to the lateness of the withdrawal, Talita or Larissa were not available to comment on the injury. With the FIVB "senior" Beach Volleyball World Championships starting in 17 days, Talita’s status for the competition is unknown or for next week's event in the United States at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Talita and Larissa have captured gold medals in the last six FIVB World Tour events the Brazilians have entered, including four at the end of the 2014 season when they topped the podiums in Austria, Poland, Brazil and Argentina. Talita and Larissa have won 41 of their last 42 matches on the FIVB World Tour and have an overall 48-5 record for eight international starts together.
The only setback during the Brazilian streak was a three-set loss to Canadians Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan in a pool play match two weeks ago in Moscow. The Brazilians avenged the setback by defeating Bansley and Pavan in the gold medal match last week in Croatia in three sets.
With the withdrawal, Brazil will still have the top seed in the Stavanger Major with Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas. The South Americans will also have the fourth- (Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta), fifth- (Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima) and 14th- (Carolina and Maria Clara Salgado) seeded teams in the competition. Reigning European champions Madelein and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands will be the second-seeded tandem as the Dutch lost to Talita and Larissa in the Moscow finale.