The Hague, Netherlands, The first-ever SWATCH FIVB World Tour tournament in The Netherlands opened here Monday with the Brazilian Country Quota playoff matches where the team of Claudinere Bento Sabino and Barbara Seixas posted a pair of wins to advance to Tuesday’s Qualification Tournament for the US$380,000 The Hague Open Beach Volleyball 2009.
Playing in only their second SWATCH event after failing to win a Country Quota match in the 2009 international Beach Volleyball season opening tournament in Brazil, Neide and Seixas defeated two rivals that had a combined 95 FIVB starts to their credit with more than $765,000 in earnings and four gold medals.
A left calf injury for Ana Paula Connelly, who was playing with Shelda Bede, benefited the 23-year old Neide and the 22-year old Seixas in the first match Monday as the young Brazilians earned a forfeit victory after losing the first set 21-15 and winning 16-10 in the second when the 39-minute match was stopped.
Neide and Seixas finished play Monday by eliminating the Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) by posting a 22-20, 17-21 and 15-12 in 54 minutes. After winning two of their first three Country Quota matches this season, the Salgados are now winless in three-straight playoffs with Brazilian rivals.
“We are thrilled to be playing in Tuesday’s qualifier after playing two very tough matches today against more experienced teams,” said Seixas, who has won three FIVB junior/youth world championships with two different partners. “We came here to get some experience and learn how to play internationally. We have had some success in other FIVB events this season, but today we played against two of the world’s best pairs.”
Neide and Seixas played in two FIVB Challenger/Satellite events last month in Cyprus and Spain where the Brazilians captured the gold medals by winning 12 of 13 matches against international competition. The only setback was to Madelein Meppelink and Margo Wiltens of The Netherlands in three sets in Cyprus.
Entering play Monday, Shelda and Ana Paula were the sixth-ranked team internationally while the Salgados were No. 8. Both teams competed in the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships last month in Norway where Shelda and Ana Paula placed fourth and the Salgados were ninth. The Brazilians sisters also earned a bronze medal earlier this season in Shanghai.
Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel will be the top host country women’s team as the winners of the 2009 Dutch championships are the seventh-ranked team on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour this season with two semi-final appearances and a bronze medal finish at May’s event in Osaka, Japan. Other Main Draw entries for the Netherlands are the teams of Danielle Remmers/Michelle Stiekema and Merel Mooren/Marloes Wesselink.
The Hague Open Beach Volleyball 2009 competition Tuesday also features the men’s Country Quota playoff matches. While the men will be qualifying for the “money” rounds Wednesday, the women’s Main Draw will start with a 32-team double-elimination Main Draw bracket competition.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS