Yokohama, Japan, July 23, 2015 – Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani hold off Brazil to take top pool place on day two of main draw at the 2015 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam. The double gender $800,000 FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam marks the first time both men and women have competed together in a FIVB World Tour event in Japan.
Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani earn their fourth win of the tournament to place them top of Pool C after the second group match ahead of Brazil’s Carol/Maria Clara and Juliana/Antonelli and Russia’s Ukolova/Birlova.Greece on form
Both Carolina Solberg Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado Rufino from Brazil and Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani from Greece had entered the main draw from the qualification match before meeting in their second Pool C match. The two teams brought a similar style of volleyball to the court, both determined and powerful.
The Greek pair took the lead in the first set, but Carol/Marie Clara were never far behind and settled into their game appearing more comfortable in the second. As the match was sent into the tie-break, it was Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani who kept it together and pulled the match back to win 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-12).
“We played really good, we had a good rhythm. We have been out for a long time so we’re really motivated to win some games. It was a nice play and we have enjoyed all our games here,” said Tsiartsiani.
“We knew that it would be a tough game, it always is against Brazil, but generally all the teams are very strong. But we played very consistently and we enjoyed the game. We haven’t had a good season, not qualifying but now was our chance and we will play as good as we can,” said Arvaniti.
The long term partners since 2009 got back together after Tsiartsiani took a year of maternity leave in 2013. Since their return playing together in 2014, Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani’s best result was final four at the Xiamen Open towards the end of 2014, but have struggled to find form in 2015.
“We wanted to qualify and we made it finally so now it’s all fun, whatever comes is only good for us. I mean we just enjoy to play and finally enjoy some good games against some good teams. We miss this, we miss the feeling of playing in the main draw in Grand Slams,” said Tsiartsiani.
“We’ve nothing to lose, we just try bring our good selves like we did today and yesterday and the day before and we’ll give our best. For us now it’s just fun,” said Tsiartsiani.
Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani are set to face Juliana/Antonelli in their final pool match on July 24 in Yokohama.
Australia’s Bawden/Clancy earn second pool win
Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy from Australia came up against strong qualifiers Switzerland’s Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli in their second Pool H match. Bawden/Clancy demonstrated some powerful attacks at the net and took hold of the first set 21-13. The match began to play out differently at the start of the second set, with Goricanec/Huberli matching the Australian girls point for point.
But Bawden/Clancy proved their top seed Yokohama seeding, securing a run of side-out points to establish a lead which they closed out for the win 2—0 (21-13, 21-19).
“We’re always pleased to get a win and especially good to create some opportunities to bring really strong attack. I think the way that we created pressure for Switzerland today was really strong and that’s something that we work to achieve every time we play,” said Bawden.
“I feel really good, every game we really look to first put our game out there and I think we did really well, we were very attacking, using or strength which is our height and I think we pushed that really, really well. It’s always tough against the Swiss girls, we played them a fair bit over the season and last year and so we always know that we have to come out and be really, really strong, so I think it was a really good match today,” said Clancy.
Bawden/Clancy currently sit in top position of Pool H and their match against Japan’s Take/Mizoe will decide in pool winner on July 24.
“Tomorrow we also play a team that we’re quite familiar with, we spent three days training with Japan before the tournament, so it’s a little bit of a funny situation, but you know Taliqua and I came here to make the finals and so it’s an important step forward for us to make sure that we again just refocus on us and bringing our strengths and giving ourselves the best opportunity to win,” said Bawden.
This year’s FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam will be the third of five double-gender FIVB Grand Slams, each with a total purse of $800,000, on the FIVB World Tour 2015. Seven FIVB men’s only events were held in Japan from 1989-1995 with six being held in Enoshima and one in Yokohama in 1991. A total of 14 women’s only events were held in Osaka from 1994-2005 and in 2008 and 2009.
Japan has hosted a total of 21 FIVB World Tour events (seven men, 14 women) with the United States leading the medal count for men and Brazil dominating the medal tally for women.
Following the Yokohama Grand Slam the 2015 FIVB World Tour will have a three-week break before resuming in the United States with the double-gender FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in Southern California set for August 18-23.