Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA, February 7, 2017 - Almost seven months after giving birth to her daughter, Manon Nummerdor-Flier was back on the sand here Tuesday at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park winning a FIVB World Tour qualifying match with two-time Dutch Olympian Marleen Van Iersel.
With a 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) win in 37 minutes over 23rd-seeded Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa of Japan, Nummerdor-Flier and Van Iersel earned a spot in Wednesday’s opening Main Draw rounds at the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major along with seven other beach volleyball tandems.
The 32-year old Nummerdor-Flier, who is playing in her first-ever FIVB World Tour event after playing 430 matches for the Netherlands' national team, is the wife of legendary Dutchman Reinder Nummerdor. Now 40, Nummerdor played on the Dutch national team at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
“Papa” Nummerdor switched to beach volleyball and competed at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Summer Games. He was a European champion both indoors (in 1997) and on the beach (in 2008, 2009, 2010), before claiming a silver medal at the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in The Hague with Christiaan Varenhorst.
Manon Nummerdor-Flier's husband - a Netherlands beach legend, Reinder Nummerdor, keeping an eye on play at the Fort Lauderdale Major
"Today, it felt like we were playing together for a long time and it is really not that new, so that gave us confidence,” said Nummerdor-Flier. “Everything went pretty good. It is very important that we advanced as otherwise we would have played only one game here. Now we got three more. I wasn't so convinced that we should come to this tournament because I just started playing two months ago, but I am really happy now."
The Netherlands’ had a second team qualify for the women’s Main Draw as sixth-seeded Jolien Sinnema and Joy Stubbe eliminated 11th-seeded Kim DiCello and Emily Stockman of United States with a 2-1 (21-18, 23-25, 15-12) win in 50 minutes.
Beach Volleyball power Brazil also qualified two teams for Wednesday’s opening “money” rounds as top-seeded Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini and second-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas posted two-set qualifying wins Thursday over pairs from Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Barbara won the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Agatha Bednarczuk after the pair captured the gold medal at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague.
Brazilian Fernanda Alves ready for the Mikasa bump from Barbara Seixas
The United States also qualified two teams as ninth-seeded Kelly Claes/Kelly Reeves defeated pairs from Poland and Canada while fourth-seeded Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar advanced with an afternoon win over a team from Japan. Other qualifying teams were fifth-seeded Sandra Ittlinger/Teresa Mersmann of Germany by ousting a team from Serbia while third-seeded Ekaterina Birlova/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia eliminated a pair from Spain.
Wednesday and Thursday’s rounds will feature pool play as the top three teams from each group advance to Friday’s opening elimination rounds. The men’s semi-final and medal matches will be staged Saturday. The women’s “final four” matches will be Sunday as the winning pairs will split the $50,000 first-place prizes.
Over 100 teams from 26 countries have entered the Fort Lauderdale Major as Fort Lauderdale Beach Park hosts an international Beach Volleyball event for the second time in the last 17 months. The 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals were held in October 2015 with the Brazilians pairs of Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca winning the gold medals. Both pairs will be competing in the Fort Lauderdale Major.