Italians best French in A1 Major Klagenfurt battle of American collegiate standouts

Klagenfurt, Austria, July 26, 2016 - With eight teams from seven countries advancing to the women’s Main Draw at the US$800,000 A1 Major Klagenfurt here Tuesday, one of the featured qualifying matches pitted collegiate All-Americans Rebecca Diane Perry of Italy against Alexandra Jupiter of France.

Perry, a standout at the University of Washington (2007-2010), and her 21st-seeded Italian partner Laura Giombini bested Jupiter, a University of Southern California star (2008-2011), and her fifth-seeded teammate Laura Longuet 2-1 ( (21-14, 20-22, 15-10) in a 39-minute match on the Lake Wörthersee center court.

With two wins Tuesday, including an opening 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) victory in 35 minutes over 12th-seeded Natalia Dubovcova and Nina Herelova of the Slovak Republic, Perry and Giombini advanced from a FIVB World Tour qualifier for the first-time in eight attempts this season.  The Italians did participate in one “money” round earlier this season after receiving a “wild card” entry in Fuzhou, China.

“This is great,” said Perry, who is playing her first season on the FIVB World Tour.  “We are playing more relaxed this week.  With this event being our last tournament of the season, we worked hard with our coach (Fosco Cicola) and those practices paid off.  We have won matches in the qualifying rounds, but never when it counted in advancing to the Main Draw.”

Tuesday’s two wins improved Perry and Giombini’s qualifying record to 4-7 this season.  The Italians’ first qualifying win together was a 2-0 (24-22, 21-15) win in 36 minutes over Jupiter and Longuet March 15 at the Vitoria Open in Brazil.  Perry and Giombini’s second qualifying win was a three-set victory in April at the Xiamen Open in China over a German pair. 

In their only FIVB World Tour Main Draw appearance in April at Fuzhou, Perry and Giombini dropped all three pool play matches with two of the defeats in three sets to teams that qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States and Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia).

The other Fuzhou pool setback was to Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany, who lost twice to Ross and Walsh Jennings in the Chinese event with the first in group play and second being in the gold medal match.  Two months later, Laboureur and Sude captured their first-ever FIVB World Tour title at the Porec Major in Croatia.

Two American teams joined the Italians in the women’s Main Draw that opens Wednesday with two rounds of pool play matches.  After the final group matches Thursday morning, the first-round of elimination for the women will be in the afternoon.  Following two more elimination rounds Friday, the women’s “final four” matches will be Saturday where the winning team shares the $57,000 first-place prize.

Posting two qualification wins Tuesday for the United States were top-seeded Lane Carico/Summer Ross and fourth-seeded Emily Day/Brittany Hochevar as the two teams advanced to the “money” rounds with wins over pairs from Switzerland and Spain, respectively.

Other qualifiers Tuesday were second-seeded Rimke Braakman/Jolien Sinnema of The Netherlands, third-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner of Germany, seventh-seeded Fernanda and Josemari Alves (no relation) of Brazil, ninth-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova of the Czech Republic and 22nd-seeded Angela Lobato/Paula Soria of Spain.

Both the Dutch and Czech teams played instrumental roles in helping their country gain an Olympic berth via the FIVB Continental Cup competition.  Braakman and Sinnema teamed with Jantine van der Vlist Sophie van Gestel to gain a second spot for The Netherlands in the Copacabana competition by winning the European Continental Cup event in Stavanger, Norway.  Van der Vlist and van Gestel was chosen as the Dutch entry in Rio.

After placing third in the Norway CC competition, Kolocova and Kvapilova were part of the Czech team that secure a Rio berth in Sochi, Russia earlier this month.  Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova was the top Czech team in the Norwegian and Russian competition and will represented the country in Rio.

The A1 Major Klagenfurt is the fourth of five SWATCH Major Series events owned and operated by the Beach Major Company, the world's leading producer of Beach Volleyball events.


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