Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 17, 2017 - Led by host Brazil and The Netherlands, eight Women’s teams from six countries won qualifying matches here Wednesday on the outside Beach Volleyball courts at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca to advance to the “money” rounds in the US$300,000 Rio Open.
Brazil and The Netherlands each secured two of the eight qualifying berths Wednesday. Main Draw-qualifying wins for the host country were by top-seeded Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini and second-seeded Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Salgado as the teams defeated pairs from Russia and Chile, respectively.
Securing "money" berths for the Dutch were by the pairs of fourth-seeded Joy Stubbe/Jolien Sinnema and Marleen van Iersel/Manon Nummerdor-Flier with wins over duos from Norway and Austria, respectively. Nummerdor-Flier joined Carolina in advancing to the Rio Open Main Draw after giving birth to her first child 10 months ago. Her husband is Reinder Nummerdor, who completed his Beach Volleyball career last August at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Other women’s qualifying teams Wednesday were third-seeded Nadja Glenzke/Julia Grossner of Germany, fifth-seeded Jagoda Gruszczynska/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland,10th-seeded Alexandra Jupiter/Ophelie Lusson of France and 11th-seeded Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami of Japan. The wins by the French and Japanese pairs were over higher-seeded tandems from Canada and Australia, respectively.
Juliana, a bronze medal winner at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 2011 FIVB world champion with Larissa Franca, and Carolina netted the first Brazilian Main Draw berth defeating 15th-seeded Maria Zapata and Maria Mardones of Chile 2-0 (21-11, 21-13) in 30 minutes.
It was the second win of the Rio Open for Juliana and Carolina as the pair advanced to Wednesday’s qualifying rounds by posting a 2-1 (23-21, 19-21, 16-14) win in 56 minutes over Maria Antonelli and Carolina Horta in a Brazilian country quota match Tuesday.
Josemari and Liliane moved on in the competition to give host Brazil six spots in the Main Draw after scoring a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 17-15) win in 49 minutes over 16th-seeded Yulia Abalakina and Ksenia Dabizha of Russia. After trailing 9-6 and 11-8 in the third and deciding set, a block/Kill by Liliane gave the Brazilians their first lead at 13-12. The Russians regained the lead at 15-14 before another Liliane block and a Josemari kill earned the Brazilians the qualifying win.
Prior to the start of the Rio Open Tuesday, host Brazil has gathered three spots in the women’s Main Draw due to their FIVB World Tour ranking along with securing one wild card berth for the team of Taiana Lima/Elize Maia. Earning spots in the “money” rounds due to their international ranking were Talita Antunes/Larissa, Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa and Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas.
In the first FIVB World Tour stop this season on the international calendar, Talita and Larissa defeated Agatha and Duda for the gold medal at the SWATCH Beach Major stop in the United States at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After finishing fifth in Fort Lauderdale, Fernanda and Barbara topped an April podium at the Xiamen Open in China.
Duda, Agatha, Larissa and Talita in Fort Lauderdale
With men’s competition also being staged at the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, the Main Draw for both genders will being Thursday with “modified” pool play. Elimination rounds will highlight Friday and Saturday’s schedule with the medal matches being played Sunday. The winning teams in each gender’s competition with win the gold medals and the $20,000 first-place prizes.
Following the Rio Open, the next stop on the FIVB World Tour will be May 31-June 4 in Moscow for a three-star event in the Russian capital. Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Austria and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.