St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, June 20, 2015 — Following the completion of pool play and two elimination rounds Saturday eight women’s teams from five countries have advanced to Sunday’s final day of competition at the double-gender $800,000 FIVB smart St. Petersburg Grand Slam presented by AVP.
Being played through Sunday, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour has returned from Europe 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.
With the men’s portion finished Saturday with USA’s Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson winning the gold medal, Three teams from Brazil, two from Germany and one each from Italy, Spain and Switzerland will meet Sunday in the women’s quarterfinals on the purpose-built site at the popular Spa Beach Park at the Pier on Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg.FIVB smart ST. PETERSBURG GRAND SLAM presented by AVP PURSE
The gold medal teams in the FIVB smart St. Petersburg Grand Slam presented by AVP will split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The event is a special first of its kind cooperative partnership between the international Olympic organization and sanctioning body FIVB, USA Volleyball and USA sanctioning body AVP.SUNDAY SKED
Concluding the internationally-televised event on Sunday, which has been held on the purpose-built site at the popular Spa Beach Park at the Pier on Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg will be the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. Action will get underway at 7 a.m. with the women’s quarterfinals followed by the semifinals and the bronze medal match at 2 p.m. ET and gold medal match at 4 p.m. ET.TV 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.QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS
In the two matches at 7 a.m. at Spa Beach Park, Brazil’s third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas will meet Switzerland’s 29th-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre and Brazil’s fifth-seeded Tiana Lima/Fernanda Alves will be challenged by Italy’s fourth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth.
In the two quarterfinals starting at 8 a.m., Brazil’s second-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli will tackle Spain’s ninth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo and in an all-German quarterfinal, Germany’s seventh-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst will meet Germany’s 11th-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe.
The quarterfinal losers will officially leave St. Petersburg with fifth place finishes and purses of $17,000 per team.ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
The women’s round of 16 matches Saturday saw just three of the eight go to a full three sets to determine the winners who would advance to Sunday’s quarterfinals.
The first four round of 16 matches Germany’s seventh-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst stunning come from behind upset over Brazil’s top-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes in three sets, 12-21, 23-21 and 17-15 in 56 minutes, Brazil’s second-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli toppled USA’s 31stt-seeded Nicole Branagh/Jennifer Fopma, 21-13, 21-17 in just 23 minutes, Brazil’s third-seeded Bednarczuk/Seixas won by forfeit over Argentina’s Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug and Italy’s fourth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth overcame Germany’s 15th-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler in straight sets, 21-16, 21-17 in 38 minutes.
In the second group of round of 16 matches, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Tiana Lima/Fernanda Alves defeated Germany’s 13th-seeded Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur in two sets, 21-18, 22-20 in 40 minutes, Spain’s ninth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo march back and eliminated USA’s Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat in a tough three-setter, 20-22, 21-17 and 15-8 in 59 minutes, Germany’s 11th-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe beat China’s 16th-seeded Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, 21-13, 24-22 in 44 minutes and Switzerland’s 29th-seeded Forrer/Verge-Depre upset USA’s final women’s team in the tournament in 23rd-seeded Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day in a tough three-set match, 21-17, 16-21 and 17-15 in 54 minutes.
The losers in the round of 16 were eliminated and leave St. Petersburg with official ninth-place finishes and purses of $11,000 per team.POOL WINNERS
All eight teams who won their respective pools Friday or Saturday morning with unscathed 3-0 records, earned a bye in the first round of single elimination play Saturday were Brazil’s top-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Brazil’s second-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli, Brazil’s third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Italy’s fourth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Brazil’s fifth-seeded Tiana Lima/Fernanda Alves, Spain’s ninth-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo, Germany’s 11th-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and USA’s 23rd-seeded Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day.smart UPSET SPECIAL
Saturday’s surprising seed breakthrough saw Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst come from way down toupset Brazil’s powerful, top-seeded Larissa/Talita in three sets, 12-21, 23-21 and 17-15 in 56 minutes. In that Round of 16 match, Germany’s Ludwig had 24 kills and three blocks while her teammate Walkenhorst had 23 kills, one ace serve and one block. For Brazil, Larissa had two blocks and 30 kills while Talita had 23 kills to her credit. It was the first meeting in a FIVB World Tour event between the two teams.SHE SAID IT
Germany’s Olympian Ludwig had plenty to say after she and Walkenhorst had come from being out of it to winning it, saying, “I'm actually really, really happy on the outside. And then on the inside is actually still happy. I wanted to say I'm really dead after three matches in this heat and humidity today. But we're coming together really well as a team. We're fighting."
"In the first set we let some energy down but we came back in the second. We served really tough and made it really tough for them. We just kept calm and got our side outs. I don't know now. I'm happy to go and shower and get some food. Today I was a little bit without food. I will see tomorrow. I don't even know who we play. I'm just happy to have a nice evening and then tomorrow we'll fight from the beginning again."USA HISTORY
St. Petersburg is now one of 10 U.S. cities that have hosted an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Atlanta, Carson, Calif., Chicago, Clearwater, Fla., Hermosa Beach, Calif., Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The event in Atlanta was the 1996 Olympic Games, the first at which Beach Volleyball was a medal sport.
Through the 2014 event, the United States has hosted a total of 22 FIVB World Tour events (11 men, 11 women) with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders. In the men’s totals after 11 events, Brazil has 11 medals, followed by the USA with 10, Argentina, Norway and Switzerland with two each and with one men’s medal each the USA are Canada, Italy, Poland and Spain. After 11 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in the United States through 2014, Brazil leads the medal parade with 15 total medals followed by the USA with 13, Australia with three and with one women’s medal each in the USA are Germany and the Slovak Republic.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.GROWING HISTORY
The FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam is the 320th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 284th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.