Gstaad, Switzerland, July 6, 2017 - Two teams from Brazil and Canada that posted qualifying wins Tuesday won their pools here Thursday as the women completed group play with pairs from five countries earning “byes” for the first round of elimination at the US$600,000 Gstaad Major
Returning to the Swiss Alps village for the 18th-straight year, qualifiers Taiana Lima/Elize Maia of Brazil (Pool A) and Kristina May/Taylor Pischke of Canada (Pool G) won their pools by defeating the top seeded teams in their group Wednesday during the opening Main Draw rounds at the FIVB World Tour event.
The 17th-seeded Lima and Eliza Maia finished Pool A with a 3-0 match mark by defeating 32nd-seeded qualifiers Inna and Iryna Makhno of the Ukraine 2-0 (21-10, 21-16) in 28 minutes Thursday. The Brazilians are now 6-0 in the Gstaad Major after winning two country quota matches Monday followed by a qualifying win Tuesday.
After defeating a team from Finland Wednesday morning, Lima and Elize Maia assumed the top spot in Pool A with a 2-1 (15-21, 21-17, 15-12) afternoon victory in 46 minutes over top-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland, who placed third last week at the Porec Major in Croatia.
Despite losing 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in a 35-minute mid-day Thursday match to Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy to finish Pool G with the same 2-1 match mark as the Australians, the 26th-seeded May and Pischke finished atop the group due to a better point ratio (1.056 to 9.907) than Bawden and Clancy.
Brazil had three group winners Thursday, including second-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (Pool B) and third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa (Pool C). Fifth-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan, who won the FIVB World Tour gold medal last week in Croatia, were the first Canadian pool winner (Pool D) Thursday.
Other teams winning pools Thursday were fourth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic (Pool D), sixth-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany (Pool F) and ninth-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland (Pool H).
With the eight pool winners watching, the second- and third-place finishers will meet in the first-round of elimination Thursday afternoon. Two elimination rounds for women will be played Friday to set the schedule for Saturday’s semi-final and medal matches.
With Talita and Larissa seeking their third-straight gold medal finishes in the Swiss Alps village, the Gstaad Major winning team Sunday will share the $40,000 first-place prize.