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Beach Volleyball - 18. April 2011.

Women’s final qualification field for Brasília Open set

Brasília, Brazil, April 17, 2011—Three women’s teams from the host country Brazil and one each from Germany and the United States emerged from the Country Quota Playoffs on Sunday to advance to Monday’s Qualification Tournament as the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour began at the Brasília Open in the capital of Brazil.

Renata Ribeiro/Michelle Soares, Luana Madeira/Liliane Maestrini and Priscilla Lese Lima/Angela Vieira of Brazil, Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and USA’s Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Hanson each won one match to move into Monday’s qualification tournament.

Six Brazilian teams competed for three host country advancement positions in the Country Quota Playoffs. Brazil also has four teams already pre-seeded into the 32-team Main Draw which begins Tuesday.

With the host country allowed up to seven main draw entries, Brazil’s Renata/Soares defeated Raquel Pelucci/Semirames Perazzo Marins while Luana/Lili beat Shaylyn Bede/Vanilda Leao and Lima/Vieira won over Izabel Bezerra/Elize Maia Secomandi.

In their Country Quota Playoff, Germany’s Borger/Buthe defeated Geeske Banck/Anja Gunther to move into the Qualification Tournament. Germany also has three women’s tandems pre-seeded into the Main Draw. Foreign teams are allowed up to four teams and a possible wild card for five in FIVB Main Draw competition. Earlier Borger/Buthe had defeated Stefanie Huttermann/Anni Schumacher in a first round match before playing Banck/Gunther, who had a first-round bye.

USA’s Hanson/Fendrick won over compatriots Jennifer Hopma/Brittany Hochevar in straight sets to move forward as USA has three pre-seeded and one wild card team already in the Main Draw lineup.

“After having a baby I haven’t been on the courts for very long,” said Renata, a 2008 Olympian for Brazil, following her team’s two-set victory over Raquel/Semirames. “I played the National Tour last year and since this January I’ve been practicing to play on the FIVB Swatch World Tour again. In Brasília my partner is Michelle Soares, but I don’t know who I will play with the rest of the international season. I’m feeling good technically and physically, like before I stopped playing to have my baby.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2011, the international beach volleyball circuit is starting with the $380,000 Brasília Open for the third consecutive season. Competition will continue through Saturday on The Esplanada dos Ministérios in Quadrante 1. The tournament is the first of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 schedule. The men also have two additional single-gender events in 2011 while the women have three single-gender events along with a special 24-team Olympic test even in London August 9-14.

The capital city of the South American country is welcoming nearly 140 men and women’s teams from 35 countries. This event is the 258th men’s and 218th women’s competition in the history of the FIVB Swatch World Tour. Returning defending champions are Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States and Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca of Brazil as all six medal-winning teams from 2010 have returned to Brazil this year.

The men’s Country Quota Playoffs and Qualification Tournament will be played Monday and Tuesday, respectively.  Eight teams from each Qualification Tournament will advance to their respective main draw tournaments in the $380,000 event. The Main Draw rounds start Tuesday for women and Wednesday for men.  The medal matches will be held Friday for women and Saturday for men.

Brazil has staged a FIVB Swatch World Tour event every year since the start of the international series for men in 1987 and women in 1992. This is the 33rd men’s event and 28th women’s tournament on the FIVB Swatch World Tour held in Brazil. This is also the 13th time Brazil has been the site of a season-opening event on the international circuit.

Countries with teams officially entered in the Brasília double-gender event are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chile, Czech Republic, Columbia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

With the Brazilian capital celebrating its 51st anniversary this week, crowds exceeding 1-million are expected to attend various holiday activities on the Esplanada dos Ministérios in Brasília, especially during the Thursday’s anniversary celebrations which feature the FIVB Swatch World Tour event.

The gold medal teams for each gender in the Brasília Open will split US$30,000, the silver $21,000 and the bronze $15,000.
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