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2015-07-08 19:36:00 CET

The greats get going

How strong is the Brazilian field looking to earn Olympic qualifying points at the Gstaad Major?

Wednesday’s Main Draw play for women saw five Brazilian teams in action, including the entire 2015 FIVB World Championship podium: the new world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, world silver medalists Taiana Lima and Fernanda Alves, and world bronze medalists Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli. Other teams from Brazil taking the sand were Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado and Porec Major winners Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes. Most had success in their first match of the day, though Maria Clara and Carolina were handed a loss by Larissa and Talita.

Photocredit: Andreas LangreiterPhotocredit: Andreas Langreiter

Brazil isn’t the only country attracting attention. Top teams like the defending European champions Marleen Van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands are on hand. And the Swatch Major Series debut of American superstars Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross – out of the World Tour since the three-time Olympic gold medalist Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder in May – has been the buzz of the tournament. The Americans looked strong in defeating the unlucky Canadians who were the first to face them, as well as Swiss opponents in the afternoon.

Photocredit: Andreas LangreiterPhotocredit: Andreas Langreiter

Among the men’s teams surviving Qualification on Wednesday were the fourth-place team from Worlds, Americans Nick Lucena and Theodore Brunner, and Porec Major bronze medalists Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula. Many more big names are to come as the week continues, including all the medal winners from the men’s side of the FIVB World Championship.