Lausanne, Switzerland, September 19, 2015 - With less than 10 days before the planet’s elite Beach Volleyball players start performing in the United States on an iconic south Florida beach, seven participating teams in the inaugural SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals were playing Saturday at events in Europe and South America.
Prior to the US$500,000 event at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park where play will start September 29 and conclude October 4, participating teams from Brazil, Italy and The Netherlands were competing in domestic and continental events to prepare for the third FIVB World Tour stop to be played in the United States this season.
At a season-ending European tour stop in Milan, Italy, 2013 FIVB world champions and SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen defeated teams from Austria and England Saturday to advance to the quarter-finals where the Dutchmen will play Maciej Kosiak and Maciej Rudol of Poland.
SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants and 2014 European champions Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy also posted a pair of wins Saturday over teams from Germany and Denmark to gain a quarter-final spot opposite of Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle of Belgium.
The Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst, the silver medal team at the 2015 FIVB World Championships and SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants, lost to Koekelkoren and van Walle in their second match Saturday. With the 38-year old Nummerdor still being troubled by injuries, the Dutch pair finished the European tour competition with a 1-2 record to place ninth.
The Milan event - tabbed the Milam Masters - is being played on two courts set up on the square right in front of an iconic building which hosts the premises and offices of the Lombardy government. The event concludes Sunday.
In a Brazilian domestic stop in Contagem, the four teams from the South American country set to play in Fort Lauderdale were playing Saturday with the men’s and women’s pairs meeting each other in preludes to possible elimination and/or medal matches at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.
In a men’s quarterfinal match featuring a pair of SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants, reigning FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt dropped a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) decision in 38 minutes to Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg to deadlock the series between the two teams at 2-2.
Evandro and Pedro, third-place finishers at the 2015 world championships, posted their first win in the head-to-head meetings with Alison and Bruno in the semi-finals at the FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stop at the end of May in Moscow, Russia. Evandro and Pedro defeated Marico Araujo and Luciano Ferreira 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) in a 41-minute semi-final match late Saturday evening to advance to the gold medal finale Sunday against the legendary Brazilian pair of Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos.
The women’s Brazilian finale featured SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals participants - Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas. The two teams were meeting for the 11th-time on the Brazilian domestic tour with Talita and Larissa improving their advantage to 10-1 by defeating Agatha and Barbara 2-1 (18-21, 21-15, 15-13) in 56 minutes.
Agatha and Barbara, the gold medal team at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague this past July, also trail 2-1 in the meetings on the FIVB World Tour. Talita and Larissa posted a 2-1 (32-30, 18-21, 15-12) win in 71 minutes over Agatha and Barbara in the gold medal match September 6 at the Rio Open.