The third annual World Tour Finals start on Wednesday and will feature 12-team fields for both men and women. The competition starts with pool play on Wednesday and Thursday with the schedule of group matches to be announced on Tuesday evening at the event’s technical meeting.
All 12 pairs in each gender’s competition will participate in the elimination rounds starting on Friday with each team winning their pool earning a bye into the quarterfinals schedule on Friday for the women and on Saturday for the men. The women’s medal matches will be Saturday and the men’s final four contests on Sunday.
Ludwig and Walkenhorst, the defending women’s champion for the World Tour Finals after winning the title last September in Toronto, Canada, will be seeded 10th and will compete in Pool B along with Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States.
Talita and Larissa, who are seeded second, captured the inaugural World Tour Finals in October 2015 by defeating Ludwig and Walkenhorst in the finale on Fort Lauderdale Beach in the United States. Since then, the Germans have won four-straight matches over Talita and Larissa highlighted by semifinals wins at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships earlier this month in Vienna, Austria.
Evandro Gonçalves and Andre Loyola are seeded second and will participate in men’s Pool B with Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia and Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson of the United States. The Brazilians captured their gold medals at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships by defeating Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst in the August 6 Vienna finale. The Austrians will participant in Pool A with Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain.
Here is the pool composition for the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone (seeds in brackets):
Pool A: Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany (No. 1), Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova, Czech Republic (No. 8) and Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré, Switzerland (No. 9).
Pool B: Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca, Brazil (No. 2), Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat, United States (No. 7) and Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany (No. 10).
Pool C: Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan, Canada (No. 3), Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic (No. 6) and Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, Canada (No. 11).
Pool D: Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa, Brazil (No. 4), Lauren Fendrick/April Ross, United States (No. 5) and Nina Betschart/Tanja Hüberli, Switzerland (No. 12).
Pool A: Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, United States (No. 1), Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria (No. 8) and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain (No. 9).
Pool B: Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola, Brazil (No. 2), Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin, Russia (No. 7) and Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson, United States (No. 10).
Pool C: Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho, Brazil (No. 3), Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Poland (No. 6) and Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann, Germany (No. 11).
Pool D: Markus Bockermann/Lorenz Schumann, Germany (No. 4), Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy (No. 5) and Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk, Canada (No. 12).
With Rothenbaum Stadium hosting an international beach volleyball event for the second-straight season, the winning teams in each gender’s competition will share the $100,000 first-place prizes. While Ludwig and Walkenhorst are seeking their second-straight Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals title, a new men’s pair will be crowned as two-time winners Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil did not qualify for this season’s event.