Elsa & Liliane post upset Thursday at Swatch Major Gstaad

 

Reaching for the ball is Elsa Baquerizo as Spanish partner Liliana Fernandez follows the action in a Swatch Major Gstaad pool match on Thursday against Alix Klineman and April Ross of the United States.

Gstaad, Switzerland, July 11, 2019 - Will this be the week Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain break-through and reach a semifinal at a Beach Major Series event.


“Why not,” said Elsa after she and Liliana posted their second Pool C win here Friday over third-seeded Alix Klineman/April Ross of the United States with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) victory in 31 minutes over a team that captured the silver medal last week at the 2019 FIVB World  Beach Volleyball Championships where the Spaniards placed 17th. 

“We played very well,” said the 32-year old Liliane. “We played them here a year ago today and they defeated us in pool play. So, yes it was some revenge. But that was not on our mind. We just wanted to play good for the second straight day and we did.”

Elsa Baquerizo (left) and Liliana Fernandez of Spain

In a pool deciding match with the Americans last July 11, Elsa and Liliane were defeated 2-0 (20-22, 23-21, 15-7) in 53 minutes by Klineman and Ross in the only other FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams.

“So, to answer your question, our goal is to reach the semifinals after a disappointing finish last week in Hamburg,” Liliane said. “We did not play our best at the World Championships and we needed to post a good result here. Tomorrow is a new day, but we’ll savour our first two wins in our group.”

The 19th-seeded Elsa and Liliane opened play Wednesday with a 2-0 (21-11, 21-16) Pool C win in 30 minutes over 14th-seeded Joy Stubbe/Marleen van Iersel of the Netherlands on Wednesday as the Spaniards started playing in their 12th Beach Major Series event that started in 2016.

With Liliane missing the 2017 FIVB World Tour season due to the birth of her son Saul, the Spaniards' best finishes at Beach Major Series events were fifths with the last one being in 2016 before the pair competed in the Olympic Games for the second time on Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.

“We are hoping to reach the Olympics for the third time,” the 32-year-old Elsa added.  “A good finish here will help because it is the second of three events on this year’s calendar that rewards major points. Tokyo 2020 is our goal, but tomorrow is a different day and we hope to continue our good play.”

The Swatch Major Gstaad is Elsa and Liliane’s 115th FIVB World Tour event together as the pair has reached the semifinals 10 times with seven podium placements and five appearances in a gold medal match without a victory.  “And yes, it would be nice to play for the gold medal on Sunday, but our thoughts right now are about our next match.”

With the women’s medal matches set for Sunday, the 24-team elimination bracket will be announced Thursday evening with Elsa and Liliane advancing to the second round after winning their group.

Competing together since 2008, Elsa and Liliana are the winningest active team on the FIVB circuit as the pair has compiled a 281-215 (56.7 winning percent) match mark. The Swatch Major Gstaad is the Spaniards 115th World Tour event together. Only seven other women’s teams have won more matches than the Spaniards, who ranked sixth in terms of FIVB appearances on the World Tour.