Gstaad, Switzerland, July 7, 2017 - Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré become only the second Swiss women’s team to advance to the semifinals in the 18-year history of the FIVB World Tour event in the Swiss Alps village after winning two matches here Friday in the $600,000 Gstaad Major.
Seeded ninth in the third of three Swatch Major Series events on the 2017 international beach volleyball calendar, Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré posted wins Friday over pairs from the United States and Brazil to earn a spot in the Gstaad Major semifinals where the Swiss will meet sixth-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany.
Saturday’s other semifinal will pit second-seeded and two-time Gstaad Major defending champions Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil against fifth-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada. The semifinal winners will meet later Saturday afternoon for the gold medal and the $40,000 first-place prize.
The only other Swiss women’s team to compete in a semifinal in the Swiss Alps village were Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr as the pair placed third in the 2012 event. The Swiss men accomplished the feat three times (2001, 2003 and 2004) with Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel topping the 2004 podium.
After eliminating 12th-seeded Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes of the United States 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in 34 minutes to open play Friday, Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré advanced to their second semifinal in five FIVB World Tour starts together with a 2-1 (21-19, 14-21, 18-16) quarterfinal win in 56 minutes over 17th-seeded qualifiers Taiana Lima/Elize Maia of Brazil.
Laboureur and Sude, who will be playing in their ninth FIVB semifinal in 46 World Tour events together, scored wins Friday over 14th-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in 35 minutes and fourth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) in 34 minutes.
In advancing to their 21st FIVB semifinal in 33 World Tour events, Talita and Larissa posted wins Friday over eighth-seeded Brazilian rivals Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in 33 minutes and 26th-seeded Kristina May/Taylor Pischke of Canada 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) in 27 minutes.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan, who won the Porec Major in Croatia last Saturday, gained their fourth semifinal berth in six FIVB World Tour events, by ousting 20th-seeded Nadja Glenzke/Julia Grossner of Germany 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) in 29 minutes and third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) in 35 minutes.