Warsaw, Poland, June 11, 2019 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is returning to Warsaw for the city’s second double-gender event. Following the successful tournament in 2018, another four-star stop will take place at the Monta Beach Volley Club on the Czerniakowski Cape peninsula protruding into the Wisla River from June 11 through 16. The Polish capital previously hosted the two editions of the women-only Warsaw Open back in 2006 and 2007.
As many as 118 teams (63 men’s and 55 women’s pairs) from 35 different countries have signed up for the tournament, where a total of US$ 300,000 prize money is at stake. In each gender a 32-team main draw will feature a modified pool play system with the top three teams in each four-team pool progressing into the single elimination stage. The pool winners will advance directly to the round of 16, while the pool runners-up and the third-placed pairs will play in the round of 24. With 24 duos seeded directly into the main draw, the remaining eight spots will be contested in qualifications to be played on Wednesday, June 12.
The exciting sand battles in Warsaw have already begun. All three country quota matches played on Tuesday afternoon extended to three sets. In the women’s all-American clash, Emily Stockman & Kelley Larsen managed a 2-1 (21-17, 16-21, 15-11) win over Betsi Flint & Emily Day. On the men’s side, USA’s Stafford Slick & William Allen outlasted compatriots Casey Patterson & Chase Budinger by 2-1 (21-15, 13-21, 15-12). There was a men’s duel for one Brazilian spot in the tournament, booked by Andre Loyola Stein & George Souto Maior Wanderley after a come-from-behind 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-12) victory over Gustavo Albrecht Carvalhaes & Saymon Barbosa Santos.
The number one team in the FIVB World Ranking, Canada’s Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson, lead the women’s preliminary seeding on entry points. They return to the venue where they won their first World Tour gold about a year ago to defend the title. Since then, Bansley & Wilkerson have added two more gold medals towards their overall total of seven podium finishes on the Tour.
Next on the list are USA’s Alexandra Klineman & April Ross, currently fifth in the World Ranking. Two-time Olympic medallist Ross and her current partner have already won three medals as a team on the World Tour, all gold.
The silver medallists from the previous four-star stop, in Ostrava earlier this month, Ana Patricia Silva Ramos & Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva, complete the top three in the women’s preliminary seeding. Coming is the number three pair in the world, the Brazilians will be looking for their seventh World Tour medal together, as they already have piled up three gold, two silver and one bronze podiums to their names.
The remaining 21 duos already in the women’s main draw at Warsaw, include three teams from host country Poland, three from Germany, two each from Brazil, China, the Netherlands and USA, and one each from Australia, Canada, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.
Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol & Christian Sandlie Sorum will be battling for their fourth consecutive gold after snatching the trophies at their previous three appearances on the World Tour – at Itapema, at Jinjiang and at Ostrava. The number one team in the world, now with a record of seven gold and one silver medals as a pair, lead the men’s preliminary seeding at Warsaw.
Grzegorz Fijalek & Michal Bryl enter the tournament as the home favourites, second in the main draw line-up and second in the FIVB World Ranking. Two-time Olympian Fijalek has not topped a World Tour podium since 2014 when he did so for the first time in his career. With his current teammate Bryl, the 32-year-old Pole has won four silvers and one bronze so far.
Russia’s Viacheslav Krasilnikov & Oleg Stoyanovskiy come in third on entry points. 2016 Olympian and bronze medallist from the last World Championship in 2017 Krasilnikov and his 22-year-old teammate Stoyanovskiy will be looking for their fifth World Tour medal together. They teamed up for the 2019 World Tour and already topped the podium twice – at the Hague and at Xiamen.
“Poland is always an awesome place to compete,” said Stoyanovskiy on the eve of the tournament. “The atmosphere and the audience are truly amazing. We will do our utmost to stay in this event for as long as possible.”
Three pairs from Brazil, three from USA, two each from Austria, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Russia and one each from Canada, Chile, Italy, Qatar and Spain make up the remaining 21 seeded directly into the men’s main draw.