Final tune-up before Hamburg World Championships

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 11, 2019 - With the completion of the men's portion of the Austrian event in Baden on Monday, two events remain before the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns this week to Poland for the 16th-straight season and Greece for the first time since 2006.

In addition to the World Tour stops in Europe, the FIVB begins finalizing details for the Under-21 World Championships to be played from June 18-23 in Udon Thani, Thailand. Raisa Schoon/Emi van Driel of the Netherlands and Mariia Bocharova/Maria Voronina of Russia, the featured women’s teams in the U21s, have topped FIVB World Tour podiums this season in Sweden and Turkey, respectively.

The double-gender tournaments begin on Wednesday in Warsaw and Friday on the Greek Isle of Ios for the 27th and 28th events for men on the FIVB World Tour and the 28th and 29th stops for women as the players on the international beach volleyball circuit prepare for the 2019 FIVB World Championships to be held in Germany starting June 28 in Hamburg.

Following Wednesday’s qualifying, the $300,000 Warsaw Open features pool play on Thursday leading to Friday’s opening elimination rounds with the medal matches set for Saturday for women and Sunday for men as the winning team’s share the $20,000 first-place prizes.

Headlining the Warsaw field will be defending champions Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland and Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada with the 2018 silver medal teams playing with new partners this season. The 2018 Warsaw bronze medal finishers remain intact as Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil seek to better their finishes in the Polish capital city.

2018 Warsaw podium placers

The €10,000 Ios Island event is part of the FIVB collaboration series with the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) as the World Tour stages its first men’s event in Greece since 2005 and for women since 2006 when Athens hosted international tournaments at the site of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

Located in the middle of one of the most successful Greek tourist areas in between Mykonos and Santorini, the Ios Open follows Friday’s qualifying with pool play and elimination matches on Saturday to set the field for Sunday’s final rounds where the winning pairs share the €1,000 first-place prizes.

Winning the events prior to the FIVB World Championships does not guarantee gold medal success as only two women’s and three men’s team have topped a World Tour podium at the tournaments before the World Championships before claiming the prestigious title.

Women's teams winning the last event before the World Championships have captured the world title twice - Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh of the United States in 2003 (Carson, United States gold before Rio title) and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas of Brazil in 2015 (St. Petersburg, United States gold before the Netherlands title).

Men's pairs winning the last event before the World Championships have claimed the world title three times - Emanuel Rego/Jose Loiola of Brazil in 1999 (Lignano, Italy gold before Marseille title), Emanuel/Ricardo Santos in 2003 (Carson United States gold before Rio title) and Emanuel/Alison Cerutti in 2011 (Beijing, China gold before Rome title).

In FIVB action last week, host country pairs from China and Austria topped podiums as the Asian country staged its seventh of nine events on the 2018-2019 World Tour calendar and the European nation welcomed its first of two events this season.

Highlighting the Chinese action Sunday was two teams competing on back-to-back weekends for a World Tour gold medal for only the 19th time in the 33-season history of FIVB beach volleyball competition as Jingzhe Wang/Shuhui Wen of China posted their second consecutive gold medal win over Carolina Horta/Angela Lavalle of Brazil in the finals of the US$25,000 Silk Road Nanjing Open.

It was Wang and Wen’s third FIVB World Tour gold medal season, including a June 2 Silk Road title in Nantong where the Chinese pair posted a 2-1 (21-9, 18-21, 15-12) victory in 48 minutes over Horta and Lavalle. Last September in Zhongwei, China, Wang and Wen topped the podium with a 2-0 (21-14, 26-24) victory in 39 minutes over compatriots Fan Wang/Chen Xue.

China - Nanjing, June 6-9, US$25,000, FIVB women's event No. 401
1. Jingzhe Wang/Shuhui Wen, China, $4,000
2. Carolina Horta/Angela Lavalle, Brazil, $3,000
3. Yurika Sakaguchi/Chiyo Suzuki, Japan, $2,000
4. Gaia Traballi/Agata Zuccarelli, Italy, $1,400
Gold - Wang/Wen def. Horta/Angela, 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) (35 minutes)
Bronze - Sakaguchi/Suzuki def. Traballi/Zuccarelli, 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) (41)

Brazilians, Chinese and Japanese place on Nanjing podium

Hours later on Sunday in Austria, host country favourites Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig improved on their 2018 finish at the Baden Open by defeating Katja Stam and Julia Wouters of the Netherlands in the finals at the second annual event.

It was Schützenhöfer and Plesiutschnig’s second World Tour gold medal as the Austrians also defeated a Dutch team (Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink) for their first FIVB title at the May 2018 Turkish event in Mersin.

Austria - Baden, June 7-9, €7,500, FIVB women's event No. 402
1. Lena Plesiutschnig/Katharina Schutzenhofer, Austria, €1,500
2. Katja Stam/Julia Wouters, Netherlands, €1,050
3. Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss, Austria, €750
4. Sarah Cools/Lisa Van Den Vonder, Belgium, €600
Gold - Plesiutschnig/Schutzenhofer def. Stam/Wouters, 2-0 (21-17, 21-12) (32 minutes)
Bronze - Strauss def. Cools/Van Den Vonder, 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 19-17) (58)

Dutch & Austrians on Baden's women's podium

In the Baden men’s finale on Monday afternoon, Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst topped the podium in the European spa city southwest of Vienna for the second-straight season as the Austrians delighted their fans by defeating Russian’s Maxim Sivolap/Artem Yarzutkin in the gold medal match.

Austria - Baden, June 7-10, €7,500, FIVB men's event No. 435
Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria, €1,050
Maxim Sivolap/Artem Yarzutkin, Russia, €1,050
Christoph Dressler/Alexander Huber, Austria, €600
Alejandro Huerta/Cesar Menendez, Spain, €600
Gold - Doppler/Horst def. Sivolap/Yarzutkin, 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) (32 minutes)
Bronze - Huerta/Menendez def. Dressler/Huber, 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 16-14) (62)

Russians, Austrians & Spanish on Baden podium


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