Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo lead six 3-0 women’s duos to elimination rounds

Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 25, 2016 — It took a win in a match between a pair of Olympic teams, but Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo prevailed to win their third of three pool play matches Thursday to advance with a first-round bye to the elimination rounds of the internationally-televised ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball that features the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam being held in Long Beach, Calif.

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The 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season is concluding in the United States with the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball that started Tuesday and runs through Sunday on a colorful purpose-built venue at Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive.

While the women played the last of three pool play matches Wednesday, the men in the 32-team, double-gender tournament played the last two of their three pool play matches. After Thursday’s final pool play matches the top three teams in each of six four-person pools have advanced to the single-elimination ‘knockout rounds’ on Friday and Saturday with the medal matches in both genders being played on Sunday.

Friday’s schedule will see the women play three elimination rounds, the round of 24, round of 16 and the quarterfinals. On Friday, the men will play two rounds, the round of 24 and the round of 16.

Back from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where they finished ninth, Spain’s likeable Fernandez/Baquerizo came back strong after dropping the first set to defeat Swiss seventh-seeded Olympians Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, 19-21, 21-14 and 15-8 in just 46 minutes. Switzerland’s Forrer/Verge-Depre also finished ninth in Brazil last week. With the victory, Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo increased their lead in the series between the two FIVB World Tour regulars to 5-1.

Spain's Liliana Fernández struggles to reach the ball

While this is the fourth consecutive year that the FIVB World Tour has stopped in Long Beach, Calif., the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball featuring the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam is the 22nd men’s event of the season and 19th women’s event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour that started with three events at the end of 2015.

Playing in their 98th FIVB World Tour event as a team, Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo earned their bye in the round of 24 on Friday with two additional pool play wins on Wednesday over teams from the USA and Venezuela. The Spaniards have now played in all four ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball with finishes of ninth place in 2013, fourth place in 2014 and fifth place in 2015.

Afterwards, Baquerizo commented, “We had to come from behind and we played better defense after the first set. Liliana had some great plays at the night, I got some digs and we both served pretty well. We came here from Rio disappointed with a ninth-place finish and we are working hard to do better than that here in Long Beach. We really enjoy coming to the USA to play. We won the bronze medal at the FIVB Cincinnati Open in May so it obviously agrees with us here in America.”

While the cornerstone of the beach volleyball celebration is the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (regular season finale of the 2016 FIVB World Tour), the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball encompasses a wide variety of additional elements . Also part of the beach festival will be live entertainment, a special celebrity center court match, an expansive vendor’s village, multiple open, junior and youth beach volleyball tournaments and the very special legends of the game tribute dinner all at the event venue.

For complete details regarding the entire ASICS WSOBV lineup of events and activities including premium seating tickets, visit the event website at

In addition to Spain’s Fernandez/Baquerizo, also undefeated in winning their respective pools were USA’s top-seeded Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross, Brazil’s second-seeded Olympians Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes, Germany’s third-seeded Olympians Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Brazil’s Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa/Elize Maia and Czech Republic’s 11th-seeded Olympians Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova.

A powerful spike by American April Ross

After two ‘comfortable’ wins on Wednesday against teams from Brazil and Canada, USA’s home-country favorites, Walsh Jennings/A. Ross were forced to three sets on Thursday early evening before overcoming Brazil’s 16th-seeded qualifier team of Liliane Maestrini/Maria Antonelli, 21-19, 18-21 and 15-13 in 53 minutes. The Americans, who lost to the Brazilians in three sets the last time they met in Hamburg, Germany this past June. The tiebreaker set in Hamburg went well past the 15 point, two-point lead, ending in favor of the Brazilians 20-18.

After her tough, three-set win, USA’s Walsh Jennings remarked, “The world of beach volleyball is so deep right now. Every pool, how is our pool is so tough. Every team we played they're very good and very capable of beating anybody. It shows the depth of beach volleyball right now. These girls, they're all young in age but they've been on the FIVB World Tour for a long, long time. Their experience, they're veterans a lot of them. There was a huge wind, swirly. It was windy and swirly. We haven't played that much in wind or swirls. Those girls are always good against us. The last time we played them they beat us in a similar match.”

Winning the other two pools with 2-1 records were Germany’s fifth-seeded Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur and USA’s eighth-seeded Olympians Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat.

With six teams in the women’s main draw, USA 26th-seeded qualifiers Irene Hester/Emily Day and 31st-seeded Kelley Larsen/Betsi Flint joined USA’s. Walsh Jennings/A. Ross, Olympians Fendrick/Sweat, 19th-seeded Summer Ross/Lane Carico and 24th-seeded Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes for pool play and five of the teams advanced to the single elimination rounds.

Besides USA pool winners Walsh Jennings/A. Ross and Fendrick/Sweat, also advanced and their records in pool play were S. Ross/Carico (2-1), Hester/Day (1-2) and the youthful Claes/Hughes (1-2) duo.

Seniors to be at USC in Los Angeles, Claes, 20, and Hughes, 21 have earned their first spot in the elimination rounds of an FIVB World Tour event. The talented Claes/Hughes duo won both this year’s NCAA collegiate Beach Volleyball national championship as well as the World University Games in Estonia.

After their advancement win Thursday, an elated Hughes reflected, “This is our hometown kind of. We’ve got our family out here supporting us. We’ve played in Long Beach before so it’s not too distant. It’s amazing being able to be here and represent USA and to make it into the elimination rounds is very cool. It gives s a little taste of what we want right after school’s over which is to play on the FIVB World Tour (they graduate in May). Once we finish school that’s our game plan.”

The gold medal teams at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will split $57,000 and 800 points, the silver $43,000 and 720 points, the bronze $32,000 and 640 points and fourth place $24,000 and 560 points.

Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there are two more events scheduled on the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. First event scheduled is in the United States--the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (Aug. 23-28) and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals (Sept. 13-18, Toronto, Canada). The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, with $100,000 going to each winning team, will feature the top eight point leaders in each gender from the current FIVB World Tour plus four wild card teams in each gender.

The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States is the 350th men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 311th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992.

FIVB 2016
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar features a purse of US$8.25 million with a season that extends from last October to this October, competing at 22 venues in 12 countries. The schedule includes four FIVB Grand Slams, four Swatch FIVB Major Series events, 13 FIVB Opens and the special Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The showcase event will be the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil (Aug. 6-18).

The 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar started in October in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and included two more open events prior to the remainder of the schedule resuming at the FIVB Kish Island Open in Iran in February.


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