Bartosz Losiak (left) of Poland hits against Italian Olympic silver medal winner Paolo Nicolai at the 2017 FIVB World Tour Finals in Hamburg.
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 13, 2018 - After nearly 12 months of competition that started last September in France, the 2017-2018 international season concludes this week in Germany with the fourth annual Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone where the men's and women's gold medallists will be awarded the largest winner's checks in the history of the sport.
The $800,000 World Tour Finals begins on Wednesday for the 10 men's and 10 women's teams that will be competing for the $150,000 first-place prizes. The competition will be staged at Rothenbaum Stadium in Hamburg, Germany.
Night-time action at Rothenbaum Stadium is scheduled again in 2018
The men's schedule has pool play matches on Wednesday and Thursday and most of Friday, when the schedule also includes evening quarterfinal contests pitting the second- and third-ranked teams from each group. The winning teams in each pool advances to Saturday afternoon's semifinals, which will be followed by the men's final.
The women's slate has group action on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and early Saturday, leading to the evening quarterfinals for the second- and third-place finishers in each pool with the group winners netting a bye into Sunday morning's semifinals at Rothenbaum Stadium. The medal matches will be played in the afternoon to conclude the competition and the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour season.
With the international circuit returning to Hamburg for the third straight season, Rothenbaum Stadium is the site for the second time for the FIVB World Tour Finals. Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena and Germans Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst captured the 2017 gold medals.
Instead of playing, Olympic and world champions Laura Ludwig (left) and Kira Walkenhorst will be watching the action in Hamburg this week.
While Ludwig and Walkenhorst did not compete this season on the FIVB World Tour, Dalhausser and Lucena just missed qualifying for the event as the pair placed 11th in the ranking list with only the top eight pairs earning automatic berths into the competition with the final two spots per gender being wild cards.
Headlining the automatic qualifiers are Norway’s Anders Mol/Christian Sorum and Barbora Hermannova/Markita Slukova of the Czech Republic as both pairs are currently the No. 1-ranked men’s and women’s teams, respectively, on the FIVB World Tour.
Marketa Slukova (left) and Barbora Hermannova of the Czech Republic are two-time FIVB World Tour gold medal winners this season.
Both pairs topped the podium this past weekend at the $600,000 Vienna Major. The Vienna gold medals were the second this season for both teams as Hermannova and Slukova won an event on home sand in June at Ostrava while Mol and Sorum captured the top prize at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland in mid-July.
Hermannova and Slukova have previously played in the FIVB World Tour Finals with a fifth last season in Hamburg. The reigning European champions and winners of their last 19 matches internationally, Mol and Sorum will be the first Norwegian men’s or women’s team to compete in the event.
Latvia and Poland each placed two men’s teams in the World Tour Finals due to their top eight finishes in the rankings, including Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia, and Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak and Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek of Poland.
Other men’s teams earning automatic berths are Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy, Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain. Five of the eight men’s teams that qualified for Hamburg due to their top-eight ranking have competed in previous World Tour Finals events.
Brouwer and Meeuwsen, the 2013 FIVB world champions and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal winners, won the most men’s FIVB events this season with gold medal finishes in Qatar (Doha), the Netherlands (Aalsmeer) and the United States (Huntington Beach).
Brazil, Canada and Germany had two teams each automatically qualifying for Hamburg, including Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa and Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil, Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada and Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude and Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany.
Also qualifying for the World Tour Finals are Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy as the Australian pair captured four gold medals during the 2017-2018 season in China (Qinzhou), Australia (Sydney), Switzerland (Lucerne) and Portugal (Espinho). Like the men, five of the eight women’s teams that qualified for Hamburg due to their top-eight ranking have competed in previous FIVB World Tour Finals events.
Mariafe Artacho (left) and Taliqua Clancy of Australia topped four podiums this season
In the penultimate weekend of play on the 2017-2018 FIVB World Tour calendar, double-gender events were held last week in Russia and Liechtenstein with teams from Latvia, Russia and the United States winning gold medals in Moscow and Vaduz, respectively.
In Moscow, Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of the United States each won her first FIVB World Tour gold medals by defeating Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa in the women's finale. Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins captured their second FIVB World Tour title in 2018 by defeating Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola of Brazil for the men's gold medals. It’s the 11th FIVB World Tour title for Samoilovs, the 12th for Smedins, and their 11th together
In Vaduz, Lara Dykstra/Allie Wheeler of the United States each won her first FIVB World Tour gold in the women’s competition by defeating Poland’s Agata Ceynowa/Martyna Kloda. For the men, Russia’s Tara Myskiv/Valeriy Samoday followed their first FIVB gold medals two weeks ago in Slovenia by defeating Florian Breer/Yves Haussener of Switzerland for the men's title.
Back-to-back FIVB World Tour winners Taras Myskiv and Valeriy Samoday of Russia
The Vaduz gold medal winning teams became the 18th women's and 23rd men's pairs to capture an FIVB World Tour event after qualifying for the Main Draw. Since 2000, 18 women's teams have won 19 FIVB World Tour events after qualifying for the Main Draw with the feat happening seven times this season.
Since 1998, a total of 23 men's teams have won 24 FIVB World Tour events after qualifying for the Main Draw with the accomplishment occurring nine times this season. Myskiv and Samoday have now won back-to-back gold medals after advancing from qualifiers.
Liechtenstein - Vaduz, August 8-11, 2018, $5,000, FIVB Women's event No. 373
1. Lara Dykstra/Allie Wheeler, United States, $1,000
2. Agata Ceynowa/Martyna Kloda, Poland, $700
3. Dimitra Manavi/Konstantina Tsopoulou, Greece, $500
4. Esmee Bobner/Zoe Verge-Depre, Switzerland, $400
Gold - Dykstra/Wheeler def. Ceynowa/Kloda, 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) (33)
Bronze - Manavi/Tsopoulou def. Bobner/Verge-Depre, 2-1 (21-14, 10-21, 15-13) (45)
The Vaduz women's podium
Russia - Moscow, August 8-12, 2018, $150,000, FIVB Women's event No. 374
1. Sara Hughes/Summer Ross, United States, $20,000
2. Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa, Brazil, $16,000
3. Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli Switzerland, $10,000
4. Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany, $8,000
Gold - Hughes/S. Ross def. Agatha/Duda, 2-1 (21-19, 12-21, 15-12) (45)
Bronze - Betschart/Huberli def. Laboureur/Sude, 2-0 (21-19, 21-12) (35)
Russia - Moscow, August 8-12, 2018, $150,000, FIVB Men's event No. 407
1. Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia, $20,000
2. Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola, Brazil, $16,000
3. Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko, Russia, $10,000
4. Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves, Brazil, $8,000
Gold - Samoilovs/Smedins def. Alison/Loyola, 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) (35)
Bronze - Stoyanovskiy/Velichko def. Evandro/Vitor, 2-0 (21-12, 21-10) (29)
The Moscow Open men's and women's podium placers
Liechtenstein - Vaduz, August 9-12, 2018, $5,000, FIVB Men's event No. 408
1. Taras Myskiv/Valeriy Samoday, Russia, $1,000
2. Florian Breer/Yves Haussener, Switzerland, $700
3. Vladyslav Iemelianchyk/Sergiy Popov, Ukraine, $500
4. Mateusz Lysikowski/Mateusz Paszkowski, Poland, $400
Gold - Myskiv/Samoday def. Breer/Haussener, 2-1 (29-31, 21-17, 15-11) (51)
Bronze - Iemelianchyk/Popov def. Lysikowski/Paszkowski, 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) (31)