Moscow, Russia, June 3, 2017 - The new pairings of Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany and Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States netted the first women’s semi-final spots at this week’s US$150,000 FIVB World Tour stop in the Russian capital here Saturday morning with teams from three other countries seeking “final four” spots in the afternoon session at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre.
Competing in the upper half of the 24-team elimination bracket, the 19th-seeded Bieneck/Schneider eliminated 15th-seeded qualifiers Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) in 36 minutes before the 11th-seeded Summer/Sweat ousted 20th-seeded qualifiers Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 15-12) in 43 minutes.
American Summer Ross (right) hits at the Moscow net against Germany's Margareta Kozuch
The quarter-final wins by Bieneck/Schneider and Summer/Sweat marked the second-time this season that the German and American pairs had netted semi-final berths. In the season-opening FIVB World Tour stop in the United States, Summer/Sweat placeed fourth at the Fort Lauderdale Major. Two months later in China, Bieneck/Schneider claimed a bronze medal at the Xiamen Open.
The Brazilian pairs of top-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa will be vying in the afternoon session for “final four” spots against 12th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia and third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany, respectively.
Talita and Larissa will be looking for their sixth-straight win over the Australians as Bawden and Clancy have never won a set from the Brazilians in their previous five matches, including a win two weeks ago at the Rio de Janeiro stop. Both pairs participated in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Talita and Larissa fourth and Bawden and Clancy fifth.
Agatha and Duda are 1-0 against Laboureur and Sude with a semi-final win at the Fort Lauderdale Major. The Germans rebounded from that Florida setback to defeat Summer and Sweat in the bronze medal match.