Lausanne, Switzerland, June 17, 2015 — Setting the stage for another day of hot action on the Florida sand, nine men’s teams from six countries won their first two of three round-robin pool matches Wednesday at the double-gender $800,000 FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is in the USA for the first time in 2015 as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is visiting the United States for the 12th time overall and the state of Florida for the third time.
Undefeated after two of three rounds of pool play on the purpose-built site at the popular Spa Beach Park at the Pier on Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg are three teams the United States, two from Brazil along with one each from Australia, France, Netherlands and Poland.SUMMER SCHOOL
This week’s FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam started with men’s qualifying on Tuesday continued with men’s pool play Wednesday as well as women’s qualifying on Wednesday followed by the start of women’s pool play on Thursday. The men’s quarterfinals will be held Friday, semifinals and medal matches on Saturday and women’s quarterfinals on Saturday with their semifinals and medal matches on Sunday. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams.SHOW TIME
In addition to the international broadcast, NBC TV will air live beach action in the USA on Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET and on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.THE UNDEFEATED
Following Wednesday’s two of three pool play matches, the 10 teams who won both of their matches Wednesday are Poland’s top-seeded Mariusz Prudel/Gregorz Fijalek, Netherlands’ third-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego, Brazil’s sixth-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, USA’s eighth-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, France’s 11th-seeded Youssef Krou/Edouard Rowlandson, USA’s 14th-seeded John Hyden/Tri Bourne, Australia’s 20th-seeded Christopher McHugh/Isaac Kapa and USA’s 26th-seeded Nick Lucena/Theodore Brunner.
Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel, USA’s Hyden/Bourne, Australia’s McHugh/Kapa, Brazil’s Ricardo/Emanuel, Brazil’s Cerutti/Schmidt, USA’s Lucena/Brunner and USA’s Gibb/Patterson lead six of the eight pools. The two other unbeatens, France’s Krou/Rowlandson and Netherlands’ Nummerdor/Varenhorst are both in second place in their respective pools, based on point-ratio.SHOW TIME
In addition to the international broadcast, NBC TV will air live beach action in the USA on Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET and on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET.SEED BREAKTHROUGHS
Australia’s 20th-seeded McHugh/Kapa record to significant seed breakthroughs with their twin wins on Wednesday. The Australians first upset Spanish Olympians Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira, seeded 13th, in two sets,21-16, 21-18 in 39 minutes and backed that up with a three-set afternoon win over Germany’s fourth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, 15-21, 21-19 and 15-9 in 62 minutes.
Earning the other seed breakthroughs on Wednesday with a pair of victories, USA’s Lucena/Brunner first stopped Austria’s seventh-seeded Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst in straight sets, 21-17, 21-18 in 44 minutes and capped their successful day by winning again in two sets, this time over Canada’s 10th-seeded Chaim Schalk/Ben Saxton, 21-17, 21-14 in 36 minutes.GREAT QUOTE
After his team’s two pool play victories Wednesday over teams from Poland and the USA, Poland’s top-seeded Prudel/Fijalek were very pleased with their performance.
Commented Fijalek, “2-0 is 2-0! We have to now focus on the next match tomorrow against Rosie (USA’s Sean Rosenthal/Stafford Slick). I think it will be an important game. We played well today and we want to keep the strong rhythm going here in St. Pete and next week at the FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands. We especially like how we played in our first match against our young Polish team (Kantor/Losiak) who keep betting better each tournament. We didn’t make many mistakes against our other Polish team. We know Rosie, we've played him in many games, but never with this new guy [Stafford Slick]. We will see. To try and find a good tactic for tomorrow."FIVB ST. PETERSBURG GRAND SLAM PURSE
The gold medal team in the FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam will split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The men’s semifinals and medal matches and the women’s quarterfinal matches will all be played on Saturday with the women’s semifinals and medal matches on Sunday.MORE IN THE USA
Following this week’s event, the FIVB will return to the USA twice more in 2015 with the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam Aug. 18-23 in Southern California and the $500,000 Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sept. 29-Oct. 4.