Pool play launches Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Hamburg

Hamburg, Germany, August 14, 2018 - The fourth edition of the Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals starts here Wednesday with a 12-match pool play schedule at Rothenbaum Stadium featuring eight men and four women contests during the first of five days of competition.

All 10 of the men’s teams will be in action on Wednesday in the $800,000 event presented by Vodafone where the gold medal men’s and women’s pairs will be rewarded with $150,000 each for the largest winner’s purse in FIVB World Tour history. The previous biggest gold medal payouts were $100,000 at the last three World Tour Finals in the United States (Fort Lauderdale 2015), Canada (Toronto 2016) and Germany (Hamburg 2017).

Pool play concludes on Friday for men and on Saturday for women as the top three pairs from each group advance to the elimination rounds. The top team in each pool earns a bye into the semifinals with the second- and third-place finishes playing in the quarterfinals. The men’s final four matches will be on Saturday and the women’s semifinals and medal contests will be on Sunday.

Host Germany will have the top two seeded teams in the competition with the men’s pair of Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler playing their first match on Wednesday in the schedule’s final match against 10th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko of Russia at 9 p.m. (local time) on the Rothenbaum Stadium centre court.

German players in the World Tour Finals are (left to right) Victoria Bieneck, Isabel Schneider, Clemens Wickler, Julius Thole, Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude.

It will be the second FIVB meeting between the two teams with the Germans seeking revenge after losing a three-set pool play match last week at the Moscow Open to Stoyanovskiy and Velichko. The Russians will also play the first match Wednesday against fourth-seeded Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland.

"It is special to play here in Hamburg," said Thole. "I live and study here in Hamburg and my university is only two hundred metres away from the Rothenbaum stadium. I played at the Hamburg Major two years ago, but unfortunately, I did not qualify for the Hamburg Finals last year."

As the featured German men's team, Thole added "I have never played a night session game here in Hamburg.  But I came to the stadium every single day last year to support the other German teams – and was overwhelmed of the atmosphere.  I get goosebumps when I think about getting the unique opportunity to play a night session game right here on Centre Court in front of thousands of frenetic German beach volleyball fans.  I always dreamed of playing the World Tour Finals at this impressive stadium when I walked past the Rothenbaum to go university last year. Now I want to soak in every single moment.”

Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, the top-seeded women’s team, has Wednesday off before starting their quest for gold on Thursday at 2 p.m. (local time) against 10th-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of the United States.

It will be the third FIVB match between the two teams as the Americans tied the series at 1-1 by defeating Laboureur and Sude in two sets last Saturday in a Moscow semifinal match. Laboureur and Sude are the only team to play in the previous three World Tour Finals with a ninth in Fort Lauderdale, and fifths in Toronto and Hamburg.

Here are the seedings for the 2018 World Tour Finals.

1. Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler, Germany
2. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum, Norway
3. Alexander/Brouwer Robert Meeuwsen, Netherlands
4. Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Poland
5. Aleksandrs/Samoilovs Janis Smedins, Latvia
6. Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain
7. Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs, Latvia
8. Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy
9. Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek, Poland
10. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko, Russia

1. Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany
2. Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic
3. Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa, Brazil
4. Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado, Brazil
5. Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson, Canada
6. Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan, Canada
7. Mariafe Artacho Taliqua/Clancy, Australia
8. Sanne Keizer Madelein/Meppelink, Netherlands
9. Victoria Bieneck Isabel/Schneider, Germany
10. Sara Hughes/Summer Ross, United States

Here is the pool play match schedule for the 2018 World Tour Finals (subject to change):


Court 2
10 a.m., Kantor/Losiak POL (4) vs. Stoyanovskiy/Velichko RUS (10)
11 a.m., Brouwer/Meeuwsen NED (3) vs. Bryl/Fijalek POL (9)
12 p.m., Samoilovs/Smedins LAT (5) vs. Nicolai/Lupo, ITA (8)
1 p.m., Herrera/Gavira ESP (6) vs. Plavins/Tocs LAT (7)
2 p.m., Antonelli/Carolina BRA (4) vs. Summer/Hughes USA (10)
3 p.m., Humana-Paredes/Pavan CAN (6) vs. Artacho/Clancy AUS (7)

Centre Court
4 p.m., Bansley/Wilkerson CAN (5) vs. Keizer/Meppelink NED (8)
5 p.m., Mol/Sorum NOR (2) vs. Bryl/Fijalek POL (9)
6 p.m., Kantor/Losiak POL (4) vs. Samoilovs/Smedins LAT (5)
7 p.m., Brouwer/Meeuwsen NED (3) vs. Herrera/Gavira ESP (6)
8 p.m., Agatha/Duda BRA (3) vs. Bieneck/Schneider GER (9)
9 p.m., Thole/Wickler GER (1) vs. Stoyanovskiy/Velichko (10)


Court 2
10 a.m., Mol/Sorum NOR (2) vs. Plavins/Tocs LAT (7)
11 a.m., Thole/Wickler GER (1) vs. Nicolai/Lupo ITA (8)
12 p.m., Bryl/Fijalek POL (9) vs. Herrera/Gavira ESP (6)
1 p.m., Stoyanovskiy/Velichko RUS (10) vs. Samoilovs/Smedins LAT (5)
2 p.m., Antonelli/Carolina BRA (4) vs. Bansley/Wilkerson CAN (5)
3 p.m., Agatha/Duda BRA (3) vs. Humana-Paredes/Pavan CAN (6)

Centre Court
2 p.m., Laboureur/Sude GER (1) vs. Summer/Hughes USA (10)
3 p.m., Hermannova/Slukova CZE (2) vs. Artacho/Clancy AUS (7)
4 p.m., Brouwer/Meeuwsen NED (3) vs. Plavins/Tocs LAT (7)
5 p.m., Kantor/Losiak POL (4) vs. Nicolai/Lupo ITA (8)
6 p.m., Mol/Sorum NOR (2) vs. Herrera/Gavira ESP (6)
7 p.m., Thole/Wickler GER (1) vs. Samoilovs/Smedins LAT (5)
8 p.m., Laboureur/Sude GER (1) vs. Keizer/Meppelink NED (8)
9 p.m., Hermannova/Slukova CZE (2) vs. Bieneck/Scheider GER (9)


Court 2
10 a.m., Summer/Hughes USA (10) vs. Bansley/Wilkerson CAN (5)
11 a.m., Hermannova/Slukova CZE (2) vs. Humana-Paredes/Pavan CAN (6)
12 p.m., Stoyanovskiy/Velichko RUS (10) vs. Nicolai/Lupo ITA (8)
1 p.m., Bryl/Fijalek POL (9) vs. Plavins/Tocs LAT (7)

Centre Court
2 p.m., Thole/Wickler GER (1) vs. Kantor/Losiak POL (4)
3 p.m., Mol/Sorum NOR (2) vs. Brouwer/Meeuwsen NED (3)
4 p.m., Antonelli/Carolina BRA (4) vs. Keizer/Meppelink NED (8)
5 p.m., Agatha/Duda BRA (3) vs. Artacho/Clancy AUS (7)
6 p.m., Laboureur/Sude GER (1) vs. Bansley/Wilkerson CAN (5)
7 p.m., Bieneck/Schneider GER (9) vs. Humana-Paredes/Pavan CAN (6)


Court 2
10:45 a.m., Summer/Hughes USA (10) vs. Keizer/Meppelink NED (8)

Centre Court
11:45 a.m., Laboureur/Sude GER (1) vs. Antonelli/Carolina BRA (4)
1 p.m., Bieneck/Schneider GER (9) vs. Artacho/Clancy AUS (7)


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