The Hague, The Netherlands, June 16, 2017 - While the men conclude “modified” pool play action here Friday at the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open, the women will play two rounds of elimination to set the field for Saturday’s quarter-final matches at the FIVB World Tour event.
Returning to The Hague for the seventh-time, the FIVB World Tour stop is the seventh double gender event on the 2017 international Beach Volleyball schedule. The uniqueness of this season’s tournament is that the competition is the first event in the 30-year of the FIVB World Tour that features play on both indoor and outdoor sand courts.
In addition, the Dela Beach Open marks the first-time that the FIVB World Tour is being staged in conjunction with a FIVB World League event as The Netherlands will be hosting the Czech Republic, Korea and the Slovak Republic for matches Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.
Thursday’s 32-match “modified” pool play schedule for women was highlighted by setbacks for the top four-seeded teams in the event and the advancement of five qualifying pairs to the 24-team elimination bracket. The qualifying teams of 15th-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil (Pool B) and 20th-seeded Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar of the United States (Pool D) were unexpected group winners Thursday to secure two of the eight “byes” to the second-round of elimination play Friday.
Antonelli and Salgado, who started play Tuesday by winning two Brazilian country quota matches to earn a spot in Wednesday’s qualifier, benefited from an upset win by 31st-seeded qualifiers Natalia Dubovcova/Andrea Strbova over second-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany to secure their pool title by defeating the Slovak Republic team in the second round.
Day and Hochevar avenged two previous setbacks this season to fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa at events in the United States and Russia by defeating the Brazilians to win their group crown. Agatha and Duda entered this week’s event as the top-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour along with compatriots Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca.
The top-seeded Talita and Larissa were denied the Pool A title after losing to 17th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland. Third-seeded and reigning Olympic champions Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany were upset in the Pool C finale by 14th-seeded compatriots Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider.
Victoria Bieneck of Germany
Other women’s group winners Thursday were fifth-seeded Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat of the United States (Pool E), ninth-seeded Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli of Switzerland (Pool H), 10th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada (Pool G) and 11th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia (Pool F).
The FIVB World Tour concludes Sunday with the medal matches on the outdoor courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark starting with the women’s podium placement contests. The winning teams in each gender will split the $10,000 first-place prizes.