Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2018 - Three elimination wins by beach volleyball pairs from the United States highlighted the opening round of bracket play here on Thursday at the $600,000 A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch.
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
With two other American teams earning byes on Wednesday into the second round of elimination by winning their pools, the USA pairs of sixth-seeded Alix Klineman/April Ross, 14th-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross and 17th-seeded qualifiers Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman knocked out pairs from Finland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland to advance to Friday’s schedule.
With two rounds of elimination for the women on Friday to set the lineup for Saturday’s final four matches, two of the opening contests will feature all-American clashes with the third confrontation against a veteran duo from Italy as the North American country is guaranteed two spots in the afternoon quarterfinals.
Hughes and Summer Ross will challenge 31st-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth as the Italians entered this week’s event with a gold medal victory this past Sunday in Agadir, Morocco in their first competition together since the 2016 season.
The two all-American clashes will pit 13th-seeded and pool winners Kelly Claes/Brittany Hochevar against Larsen/Stockman and Klineman/April Ross will meet 29th-seeded qualifiers and pool winners Lauren Fendrick/Sarah Sponcil.
Other teams winning elimination matches on Thursday were fourth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas of Brazil, seventh-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, 18th-seeded Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia and 21st-seeded Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger of Germany.
With heavy rain halting play, the final women’s match was delayed for more with two hours with 11th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany advancing with a win over 25th seeded qualifiers Tina Graudina/Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia.
The play of Kholomina and Makroguzova has been a highlight of the first two days of the Main Draw rounds as the young Russians defeated the top two-seeded teams from Canada in the Vienna Major. On Wednesday, Kholomina and Makroguzova eliminated second-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson followed by a knockout win Thursday over top-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan.
Reaching for the Mikasa is Russian Svetlana Kholomina
The heavy rains also stopped the second round of pool play matches for men. Depending on the decision to resume play, the women’s schedule on Friday will feature two rounds of elimination to set the field for Saturday’s final four matches where the gold medal winners will share the $40,000 first-place prize. Depending on the schedule, the men’s elimination will be played Friday with the final four matches Sunday.