Toronto, Canada, September 16, 2016 - Eight women’s elimination contests highlight the 12-match SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals schedule here Friday with four of the six medal winning teams from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games performing on the two-court beach volleyball layout on Polson Pier.
The US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals also features men’s competition where the final four pool play matches will be contested Friday to set the schedule for Saturday’s two elimination rounds. The women’s “final four” matches are scheduled for Saturday with the men’s semi-finals and medal contests set for Sunday. The winning teams will share the $100,000 first-place prizes.
The women’s schedule Friday opens with four first-round elimination bracket matches featuring Rio Olympic gold medal winners Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst as the Germans failed to win their pool Thursday by dropping a pair of contests to teams from Argentina and Switzerland.
With Ludwig and Walkenhorst being placed in the top-half of the elimination bracket after finishing third in Pool B, the Germans will meet Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada with the winning team playing Rio Olympic bronze medal winners April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States in the quarter-finals.
Ross and Walsh Jennings posted wins over pairs from Australia and Switzerland Thursday to win Pool A to join Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil, Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany and Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland in earning first-round elimination “byes” and a guaranteed fifth-place finish in the competition.
Talita and Larissa, who placed fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after losing the bronze medal match to Ross and Walsh Jennings, are the SWATCH FIVB World Finals defending women’s champions after defeating Ludwig and Walkenhorst in the 2015 title contest in the United States on Fort Lauderdale Beach in south Florida.
The winner of the upper elimination bracket match between Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug of Argentina and Laura Giombini/Marta Menegatti of Italy will meet Talita and Larissa in the second of four quarter-final matches Friday. Gallay and Klug upset Ludwig and Walkenhorst Thursday to snap the Germany’s 13-match FIVB World Tour winning streak.
In the lower half of the women’s bracket, Laboureur and Sude will play the victors from the Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland versus Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas of Canada in the quarter-finals while Heidrich and Zumkehr will be challenged by the winning team from the Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain versus Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia contest.
Heidrich and Zumkehr posted the second win over Ludwig/Walkenhorst Thursday as the Germans dropped two-straight matches for the second-time this season. At the Porec Major on July 2, Ludwig and Walkenhorst loss back-to-back “final four” matches to Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada and German rivals Karla Borger/Britta Buthe.
Men’s Olympic medal winners competing Friday on Polson Pier will be Rio champions Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil and Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen. Alison and Bruno joined Talita and Larissa in winning the $100,000 first-place prize at the 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale.
Alison and Bruno conclude Pool A play against Lombardo Ontiveros and Juan Virgen of Mexico with Brouwer and Meeuwsen challenging Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Smedins of Latvia in a Pool B match. Alison and Bruno are 1-0 in their group after defeating an Italian team Wednesday while the Dutch dropped their opening match Thursday to a Polish pair.
The other men’s matches Friday feature Canadian men’s teams. Undefeated Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland meet 0-1 Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter of Canada in Pool C. The Pool D match features two teams looking for their first SWATCH Finals win as Canadians Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk challenge Brazilians Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg.