Olsztyn, Poland, June 14, 2016 - Led by two teams each from Brazil and Germany, seven of the top-eight-seeded women's teams in the US$800,000 Olsztyn Grand Slam qualifier advanced here Tuesday to the Main Draw in the FIVB World Tour stop on Crooked Lake (Lake Ukiel or Krzywe Lake) behind the Hotel Omega.
The seed-break-through 2-1 (21-17, 24-26, 15-12) win in 45 minutes by 10th-seeded Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova of the Czech Republic over seventh-seeded Nicole Eiholzer and Dunja Gerson of Switzerland spoiled the day for the top seeds in a women’s qualifiers.
Since the start of rally scoring for FIVB World Tour events in 2001, only four events have featured a women’s qualifier where the top-eight-seeded teams in the preliminary rounds won matches to advance to Main Draw. In addition to last week’s result at the smart Major Hamburg, other “perfect” seeding advancements for women were Mallorca 2004 (Spain), Åland 2012 (Finland) and St. Petersburg 2015 (United States).
Brazilian qualifiers Tuesday were top-seeded Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa/Elize Maia and second-seeded Maria Antonelli/Liliane Maestrini. Gold medal winners at two FIVB stops in Brazil at Maceio and Fortaleza this season, Duda and Elize Maia scored a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) win in 26 minutes over 17th-seeded Anna Dostalova/Hana Tresnakova of the Czech Republic. Playing in their 11th FIVB World Tour event together, Tuesday’s qualifying advancement was the ninth for the Duda/Elize Maia partnership as the pair is now 12-0 in preliminary round matches.
Antonelli and Liliane scored a 2-0 (21-9, 21-6) win in 23 minutes over 18th-seeded Agnieszka Adamek/Natalia Gruszczynska of Poland. Antonelli and Liliane posted one of the season’s biggest upsets last week at the smart Major Hamburg by defeating Olympic medalists April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in three sets to snap the Americans’ 23-match winning streak.
The German pairs of third-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner and fourth-seeded Teresa Mersmann/Isabel Schneider also qualified for Wednesday’s opening Main Draw rounds along with fifth-seeded Irene Hester Pollock/Caitlin Ledoux of the United States, sixth-seeded Amaranta Navarro/Ester Ribera of Spain and eighth-seeded Milena Matic/Marija Milosevic of Serbia.
Isabel Schneider of Germany
The second annual Olsztyn Grand Slam, which will stage a men’s qualifier Wednesday, will feature pool play for women Wednesday and Thursday. The top three pairs from each group advance to Friday’s three rounds of elimination bracket matches to set the field for Saturday’s semi-finals and medal contests. The men’s group play starts Thursday with three rounds of elimination Saturday and “final four” contests Sunday. The winning teams will split the $57,000 first-place prizes.
The 2016 Olsztyn Grand Slam is the third of the four FIVB World Tour Grand Slam stops with events completed in Rio de Janeiro (March 8-13 on iconic Copacabana) and Moscow (May 24-29). The final FIVB Grand Slam event will be staged following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the United States Long Beach in southern California (August 23-28).
The smart Major Hamburg was the first of four SWATCH Major Series events with other events being held in Croatia (Porec, June 29-July 3), Switzerland (Gstaad, July 6-10) and Austria (Klagenfurt, July 27-31). The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be held September 13-18 at a site to be determined.