Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 18, 2015 - A 31-team Qualification Tournament launched the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball here Tuesday as the top three-seeded pairs in the competition were upset by tandems from Russia, Kazakhstan and the United States in the 11th women’s stop on the 2015 FIVB World Tour calendar.
The teams of Anastasia Barsuk/Maria Prokopeva of Russia, Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan and Kim DiCello/Kendra Van Zwieten of the United States posted two wins each Tuesday during the women’s competition in the US$800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball event on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach to advance to Wednesday’s and Thursday’s pool play matches in the FIVB World Tour event.
Also advancing to the “money” rounds in the qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were fourth-seeded Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, eighth-seeded Lane Carico/Summer Ross of United States, 10th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner of Germany, 12th-seeded Jantine van der Vlist/Sophie van Gestel of The Netherlands and 27th-seeded Nicole Branagh/Jenny Kropp of the United States.
Playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together and seeded 16th in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, Anastasia Barsuk and Maria Prokopeva of Russia posted a 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) win in 40 minutes over Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima of Brazil to lead the eight qualifying teams to the opening “money” rounds Wednesday.
After Fernanda and Lima dropped their match, the day became worst for the Brazilians when the second-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) were upset in their second match by 15th-seeded Mashkova and Tsimbalova, who scored a 2-1 (21-16, 12-21, 15-11) victory in 52 minutes over the South Americans. It was the fourth FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams as the Salgado’s had won the last two matches after Mashkova and Tsimbalova won the first meeting in 2013.
Tuesday became even worst for the South American continent when third-seeded Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina were eliminated from the competition by losing a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) decision in 44 minutes to the 14th-seeded DiCello and Van Zwieten, who are playing in only their second FIVB World Tour. Gallay and Klug had won their last two international events with a gold medal last month at the PanAm Games in Canada and a podium-topping performance last week at a South American tour event in Argentina.
Tuesday’s schedule also featured men’s qualifying action as eight pairs from each gender’s competition advanced to Wednesday’s opening Main Draw rounds. Twenty-four (24) men and 24 women teams were already placed in the “money” rounds where the winning teams will each share the $57,000 first-place prizes on Sunday.
With three qualifying teams earning spots in the women’s Main Draw, the United States will also be represented in the “money” rounds by April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, Emily Day/Jen Kessy and Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar.
The 32-team Main Draws for both women and men will feature pool play with the top three group finishers advancing to the elimination rounds. Pool winners are guaranteed a first-round “bye” in the knockout rounds when the 24-team elimination bracket begins Friday.
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla. Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson, Calif.
Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland. The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.
Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).