The Hague, The Netherlands, July 1, 2015 - It was business as usual for the women’s elimination rounds at the 2015 FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships on the sand of The Hofvijver stadium court where teams from Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands and Spain won as expected here Wednesday afternoon.
With the completion of the four-match schedule at one of four sites in the European country, Thursday’s opening elimination matches will feature top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands being challenged by 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia after eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain meets ninth-seeded Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima of Brazil at The Hofvijver stadium court.
The FIVB head-to-head series between the Dutch and Aussies is tied 2-2 with Meppelink and Van Iersel capturing a pair of wins three weeks ago in the Norwegian Major in Stavanger. A week earlier, Bawden and Clancy prevailed in the Croatian Major in Porec. The Aussies first win in the series was on nearby Scheveningen beach in last year’s Dutch Grand Slam.
Baquerizo and Liliana lead the FIVB series with Fernanda and Lima 2-1 with Thursday’s meeting being the first this season after the two teams met three times in Switzerland, the United States and Austria. The Brazilians won the first match in Gstaad with the Spaniards successful in southern California and Klagenfurt.
The winners of the two matches will vie Thursday evening at The Hofvijver stadium court for a spot in Friday’s semi-finals against a quarter-final winner from Rotterdam. The other semi-final match will feature the “Elite 8” winners from Apeldoorn and Amsterdam.
Meppelink and Van Iersel, the reigning European champions and the Pool A in the world championships, posted a 2-0 (21-12, 21-19) win in 38 minutes over 35th-seeded Karolina Baran and Jagoda Gruszczynska of Poland in the fourth of the four elimination matches Wednesday at The Hofvijver stadium court. It was the first FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams.
Bawden and Clancy, who lost to the Spaniards Tuesday for the Pool H title, advanced to Thursday’s schedule by eliminating 33rd-seeded Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) in 41 minutes. The Aussie have now defeated the Swiss three of four times on the FIVB World Tour.
Fernanda and Lima, the Pool I winner and 2014 gold medalists at the Dutch Grand Slam in The Hague, ousted 28th-seeded Norisbeth Agudo and Olaya Pazo of Venezuela 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) in 35 minutes. It was the first international meeting between the two South American pairs that have played against each other on the continental tour.
With the air temperature near 40° C (104°F), Baquerizo and Liliana posted a 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) victory in 46 minutes over 31st-seeded Linline Matauatu / Pata Miller of Vanuatu in another first-time meeting on the international circuit.
With five days of pool play competition concluding Tuesday, Wednesday’s matches marked the start of the “knock-out” rounds for both men and women. The women’s elimination schedule features the “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8” matches Thursday with the semi-finals Friday and the medal matches Saturday. The men’s “final four” matches will be played Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to playing for the $60,000 first-place prize money, the US$1-million FIVB World Championships will also reward the country with the gold medal teams a berth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Following the world championship competition, the FIVB World Tour continues with a stop next week in Switzerland for the Gstaad Major.