Top seeds April Ross and Kerri Walsh finished top of Pool A after the US pair went through their pool without dropping a set, a feat that was matched by Brazilian pair Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas.
Their compatriots Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli and the Salgado sisters Maria-Clara and Carolina also topped their pools, as did Spanish duo Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo.
The men’s teams meanwhile were able to lay down an early marker with the first of their two pool matches, though with a third on Friday there will be further twists to come.
Holtwick and Semmler heading back to their best at Stavanger Grand Slam
Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler put a disappointing couple of weeks on the World Tour behind them as they won their final Stavanger Grand Slam pool match to top their group on Thursday.
The German duo produced a feisty display to beat the Netherlands’ Marlene van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink 2-0 (21-19, 21-17). By topping their pool they go straight into the second elimination round, while van Iersel and Meppelink must now play the first elimination round.
“We are really happy that we won this game and that we played better,” Semmler said. “We had a few games here before where we noticed we were getting better and we are working really hard on that.
“We had a few bad results last tournament and the main reason was our block and defence. The goal for the rest of the week is a few more wins and to be back on the court enjoying the game and having fun.”
Boys from Brazil endure tough but rewarding start to life in Stavanger
Alvaro Filho and Ricardo Santos enjoyed a strong start in Stavanger, albeit after they were forced to work hard for their two wins from two tough fixtures as the men’s pool play got underway on Thursday.
The Brazilian pair started off with a 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 15-13) win over reigning World Tour champions Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins and then rounded off the day by beating Germany’s Alexander Walkenhorst and Stefan Windscheif 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 19-17).
“It was two wins, but two hard wins, they both went to the tie-break,” Alvaro said.
“The first one against the Latvians, they were the best team last year, so we are very proud of that victory and the German guys played really well and served really well and caused us many problems.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 25 until Sunday June 29. It is the eighth event and the fourth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Gstaad Grand Slam which runs from July 9-13.