Top teams line up for Xiamen
Dutch team Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen are back in Xiamen to defend their 2017 title
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Piotr Kantor and Batorsz Losiak enter Xiamen in the top position. The Polish pair had a final four finish in the Hamburg 2017 World Tour Finals and took silver at The Hague’s FIVB 4-star event in January where they beat Brouwer/Meeuwsen in the semifinal in straight sets. The pair have played Xiamen once before, finishing fifth in 2015.
Poland´s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak up against Alexander Brouwer (NED) in The Hague semifinal
2017 World Championship silver medallists Alexander Horst and Clemens Doppler will play their second FIVB World Tour event of 2018 in Xiamen. The Austrian pair were last in China in 2014 and play for the first time in Xiamen.
Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins return to Xiamen for a fourth time, with their best result a bronze in 2013. The Latvians have already been on the podium this year claiming bronze in the 5-star Fort Lauderdale FIVB World Tour in March.
Fellow Latvians Plavins and Tocs will also be in the mix taking top spot in The Hague in March followed by silver in Kish Island.
Strength also comes from Russia and Brazil. 2017 World Championship bronze medallists Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin have both had final four finishes in Xiamen with different partners. Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko team up for the first time in 2018 and got off to a quick start with silver in Doha.
Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt chose Xiamen as their second stop of 2018. Alison previously won gold in Xiamen with Vitor Gonçalves Felipe in 2013.
Spanish team Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrian Gavira Collado also feature in Xiamen after taking the gold here in 2016.
China’s strongest contenders come in the form of Ha Likejiang and Wu Jiaxin who paired up at the beginning of 2018.
The qualification tournament will get action underway with Kish Island gold medallists Mariusz Prudel and Jakub Szalankiewicz from Poland leading the charge. Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sørum will also challenge for a main draw position, with the two teams receiving a bye into round two of qualification.
Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes enter Xiamen in top spot off the back of Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold. The pair had four medal finishes in 2017 and are in Xiamen for a second time after finishing fifth in 2016.
Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude enter their second tournament of the year and Xiamen for their third edition. The German pair will be aiming for a good result in Xiamen after a 17th place finish in Fort Lauderdale in March.
2017 Xiamen bronze medal winners Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider will be competing again this year after the Germans placed fourth in February's Beach Major stop in the United States.
Maria Antonelli and Carolina Solberg Salgado from Brazil will get to work in Xiamen after a good start in 2018 with silver in The Hague.
Brazil will see another two strong teams fielded in Xiamen with Taiana Lima/Carol Horta and Agatha/Duda. Taiana Lima and Carol Horta Maximo played in their first tournament together at the Fort Lauderdale 5-star event just one month previously winning the silver medal.
Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Agatha Bednarczuk are in their second season together with their best result to date, gold in Rio de Janeiro last year.
Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli earnt bronze in the The Hague this year and feature in Xiamen for a second time. Experienced Swiss team Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré will also challenge in Xiamen.
China’s Wang Fan and Xin Yi Xia are home favourites. The pair joined forces at the end of the 2017 season with their best result silver in Sydney. The two players often perform well on home sands and local support will give them an edge in Xiamen.
Local favourites Wang Fan (right facing) and Xin Yi Xia took silver at Sydney 2-star in November 2017
The USA will field three teams in the main draw with Sara Hughes and Summer Ross joining forces after playing together once before at the FIVB 2012 U21 World Championships, where they finished fourth.
They are joined by April Ross and Alexandra Klineman, who won the year opening 4-Star Dela Beach Open in The Hague and triple Olympic champion Kerri Walsh-Jennings, who makes her return from injury with Nicole Branagh.
The qualification tournament will kick start the Xiamen Open and The Hague quarterfinalists Germany’s Kim Behrens and Sandra Ittlinger will be vying for a main draw spot. USA’s Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar who are pairing up for the first will also be hoping to make it through to Wednesday.
On the 2017-2018 World Tour calendar, China will also host the following events; Jinjang (May 31-June 3 for men and women), Nantong (June 7-10 for women), Nanjing (June 14-17 for women), Haiyang (July 18-22 for men and women) and the FIVB Beach Volleyball Under 19 World Championships in Nanjing from July 10-15.
The next stop on the calendar after Xiamen will be the double gender 1-star event in Langkawi, Malaysia, followed by the $300,000 four-star event at Huntington Beach, California at the start of May.
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