Gstaad, Switzerland, July 10, 2018 - The 19th renewal of international women’s beach volleyball in the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad officially began here Tuesday with two qualifying rounds as eight pairs advanced to the main draw rounds in the $600,000 FIVB World Tour event.
Securing the first main draw berth for women on Tuesday was Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger as the top-seeded German pair has been successful in all three of the qualifying attempts this season on the FIVB World Tour after posting a 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) win in 36 minutes over 16th-seeded Yulia Abalakina/ Ksenia Dabizha of Russia.
Akiko Hsegawa (right) of Japan hits at the Gstaad Major net against the Ukraine
The Japanese teams of 10th-seeded Azusa Futami/Akiko Hasegawa and 12th-seeded Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami posted seed-break-throughs to gain "money" round spots after upsetting higher-ranked teams from the Ukraine and Latvia, respectively.
After losing the first set 21-8, Ishii and Murakami posted 21-7 and 15-9 wins to defeat fifth-seeded Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia in 44 minutes. Seventh-seeded Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova defeated Futami and Hasegawa 21-14 in the first set with the Japanese rallying to win 21-17 and 18-16 in 48 minutes.
Other teams earning Main Draw berths were second-seeded Katarzyna Kociolek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland third-seeded lsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain, fourth-seeded Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman of the United States, eighth-seeded Natalia Dubovcova/Andrea Strbova of the Slovak Republic and 22nd-seeded Emilie Olimstad/Oda Ulveseth of Norway.
The Gstaad Major, the second Beach Major Series stop on the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour calendar, continues through Sunday with the 32-team main draw starting with pool play on Wednesday where Tuesday’s action qualifying the last eight pairs for the main draw rounds.
With the men’s event concluding on Saturday with the semi-final and medal matches, the women’s elimination rounds will be contested Friday with the quarter-finals on Saturday and the “final four” confrontations Sunday. The winning teams will share the $40,000 first-place prizes.
Brazilians Fernanda Alves and Barbara Seixas, who captured the first Beach Major Series gold medal this season in early March in the United States on Fort Lauderdale beach in south Florida, were a late withdrawal this week and replaced by Carol Horta/Taiana Lima.
A two-time winner on the FIVB World Tour with a podium-topping performance at a second United States event in May in southern California at Huntington Beach, Fernanda and Barbara defeated Horta and Lima for the Fort Lauderdale gold medal.