Paris, France, June 19, 2007 - Five of the top eight-seeded in the women’s Qualification Tournament for the US$600,000 Henkel Grand Chelem each won a pair of matches here Tuesday to advance to the “money” rounds of this week’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars.
However, the “best news” Tuesday afternoon was the advancement of teams from Canada, Georgia and the United States to the Main Draw in the sixth women’s qualifying event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in 2007 for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Two teams from Greece led Tuesday’s qualifiers as top-seeded Vasso Karadassiou/Vassiliki Arvaniti and Efthalia Koutroumanidou/Maria Tsiartsiani each scored a pair of victories to gain berths in the 32-team Main Draw along Beach Volleyball pairs for Brazil, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Also advancing as expected were third-seeded Hana Klapalova/Tereza Petrova of the Czech Republic, fifth-seeded Laura Ludwig/Sara Goller of Germany and the eighth-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara), who also witness their brother’s country quota win for Brazil with Harley Marques later Tuesday.
While the other teams were playing only two matches to advance to the Main Draw in the third annual Henkel Grand Chelem, Goller and Ludwig had to work overtime since the young Germans started play Monday with a country quota win before ousting teams from Austria and Bulgaria.
Goller and Ludwig have now won eight of their last nine SWATCH-FIVB World Tour matches. The Germans placed second last week at the Portuguese stop in Espinho after posting two qualifying wins last Wednesday along with five-straight in the Main Draw before losing to top-ranked Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca in the three-set finale Sunday.
Lower seeded teams earning Main Draw berths in the first of five “major” events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar were 11th-seeded Rachel Wacholder/Tyra Turner of the United States, 20th-seeded Annie Martin/Dana Cooke of Canada and 23rd-seeded Cristine “Saka” Santanna/Andrezza Martins “Rtvelo” das Chagas of Georgia.
While Turner and Wacholder were playing in their first SWATCH qualifier together, Martin and Cooke are now three for six in Main Draw attempts this season after upsetting fourth-seeded Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli of Italy 21-16, 19-21 and 15-13. Earlier Tuesday, the Canadians ousted 13th-seeded Nadia Campisi and Clara Lozano of Spain 21-18 and 21-15.
Tenth-seeded Inguna Minusa and Inese Jursone of Latvia fell to the Georgians in an opening match Tuesday before Saka and Rtvelo advanced to their second Main Draw this season with a 21-13, 19-21 and 15-10 win over 26th-seeded Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton of England. Johns and Boulton eliminated seventh-seeded Sarah Maxwell and Marie-Andree Lessard of Canada 17-21, 26-24 and 15-12 in the day’s longest match (74 minutes).
After eliminating American rivals and 22-seeded Holly McPeak and Logan Tom 17-21, 21-18 and 15-8, Turner and Wacholder earned a spot in the “money” rounds with a 21-18 and 21-15 win over sixth-seeded Sanne Keizer and Marritt Leenstra of the Netherlands.
The Henkel Grand Chelem also featured men’s country quota matches for Brazil and the United States Tuesday. The women’s Main Draw starts Thursday and runs through Sunday when both genders will stage their medal matches with the winning teams capturing the $43,500 first-place prize.
The Henkel Grand Chelem will also help finalize the entry list for the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships to be played July 24-29 in the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad. The $1-million SWATCH-FIVB World Championships, the second-most prestigious Beach Volleyball event on the planet behind the Olympics, will feature 48-team Main Draws for both men and women.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS