Fort Lauderdale, United States, October 1, 2015 - Teams from Brazil, Germany and the United States were the first beach volleyball pairs to clinch spots here Thursday for the elimination rounds at the $500,000 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals where each tandem leads their pool with 3-0 records entering the final day to group competition Friday.
Brazilian pairs listed among the unbeaten tandems were second-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca in women’s Pool B and Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg in men’s Pool A. Joining the South Americans on the undefeated scoreboard are fifth-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in women’s Pool A and 10th-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena in men’s Pool B.
After posting a 2-1 (21-9, 20-22, 15-12) win Thursday in 52 minutes over Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands for their third win in the competition, Dalhausser and Lucena became the first team to advance to Saturday’s semifinals when ninth-seeded Canadians Ben Saxton and Ben Chaim Schalk defeated sixth-seeded Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria 2-0 (21-16, 22-20) in 42 minutes.
With 10 teams in each gender’s competition where the field was divided into two pools of five pairs, the top three teams from each group advance to the elimination rounds. The pool winners earn a quarter-final “bye” and advance directly to the semi-finals. The second- and third-place finishers in each group will play in the quarterfinals with the women’s opening elimination matches Friday afternoon and the men’s Saturday morning.
Evandro and Pedro had the toughest day Thursday as the Brazilians had to win two matches over pairs from The Netherlands and the United States to clinch Pool A. Talita and Larissa were victorious over a team from Germany while Ludwig and Walkenhorst scored a win over an American tandem before Dalhausser and Lucena out-lasted a Dutch pair.
After posting a 2-1 (19-21, 21-15, 16-14) win in 56 minutes over fourth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, Evandro and Pedro posted a 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-10) win in 59 minutes over top-seeded Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson of the United States. The Brazilians were playing Brouwer and Meeuwsen for the first time on the FIVB World Tour while Evandro and Pedro now have won all three matches this season over Gibb and Patterson.
Talita and Larissa played only once Thursday with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win in 38 minutes over 10th-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude for their third-straight win over the Germans on the FIVB World Tour in as many meetings. The Brazilians can win their group Friday and earn a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals by defeating third-seeded Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada. Talita and Larissa hold a 3-1 edge in the international series with the Canadians.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst’s 2-0 (21-14, 21-18) win over top-seeded Lauren Fendrick and April Ross of the United States moved the Germans into the top spot in Pool A. Ludwig and Walkenhorst close out group action Friday against reigning beach volleyball world champions Agatha Bednarczuk of Barbara Seixas of Brazil.
If Ludwig and Walkenhorst defeat the Brazilians, the Germans win the pool. If Agatha and Barbara defeat the Germans and Fendrick and Ross defeat eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain, Pool A finishes with three teams tied at 3-1 with a point ratio among the three tying teams deciding the group. The Spanish girls still have a chance to advance outright with a win over the Americans and hope that Agatha and Barbara defeat the Germans.
The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals concludes Sunday with the medal matches. The winning teams in each gender’s competition will share the $100,000 first-place purses - the biggest gold medal prize in FIVB World Tour history since the start of the men’s play in 1987 and the women in 1992.