Twelve teams, four countries seek Fort Lauderdale gold medals

Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 11, 2017 - After four days of qualifying, pool play and elimination, the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major enters the final two days of competition on the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park center court with 12 teams from four countries seeking the $50,000 first-place prizes.

Beach volleyball powers Brazil (two men and four women) and United States (two men and two women) have 10 of the remaining pairs left in the first of four Swatch Major Series events on the 2017 FIVB World Tour with the Czech Republic and Germany having one women’s tandem each still competing in the international event that started with over 100 entries from 26 countries.

The men’s gold medal will be decided here Saturday afternoon as the morning’s two semifinal matches feature Brazil versus United States matchups. Three of the four teams competing in the men’s final four competed in the same Fort Lauderdale Major group (Pool H) with Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena the outsiders.

Friday’s men’s quarterfinals featured the two teams that reached the Rio 2016 Olympic finals as Dalhausser and Lucena ousted Copacabana champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil while American compatriots Ryan Doherty and John Hyden eliminated Rio silver medal winners Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy.

The women’s quarterfinals will feature two teams that reached the Rio Olympic bronze medal match as both pairs will meet tandems that feature the Copacabana silver medal winners Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil, who ended their partnership after the Summer Games last August.

April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States will play Agatha and Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa in one quarterfinal Saturday while Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil will be challenged by Barbara and Fernanda Alves in another elite eight match.

At the Rio Olympics, Ross and Walsh posted a three-set win over Talita and Larissa in the bronze medal game while Agatha and Barbara dropped the gold medal match to Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany. With Ludwig sidelined after having shoulder surgery in December, Walkenhorst placed 17th this week with Julia Grossner.

Here’s Saturday’s matchups with the men’s gold medal matchup featuring the semifinal winners. The women’s final four matches will be played Sunday.

Men’s semifinals
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, United States (No.1-seeded team) v Evandro Gonçalves/Andre Loyola Brazil (8)
Alvaro Filho/Saymon Barbosa, Brazil (9) v. John Hyden/Ryan Doherty United States (24)

Women’s quarterfinals
April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, United States (1) v. Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda Lisboa, Brazil (5)
Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini, Brazil (14) v. Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany (3)
Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross, United States (13) v. Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova, Czech Republic (22)
Barbara Seixas/Fernanda Alves, Brazil (16) v. Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Brazil (2)


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