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2015-07-09 21:06:00 CET

Archrivals Brazil and USA advance in Gstaad

At the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series on Thursday, American legend Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner April Ross moved only one win away from a potential clash with new world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil. Meanwhile, the free-for-all of the men’s pools started to show some shape.

Ever since Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder in May, beach volleyball fans have been pining to see the three-time Olympic gold medalist back representing the USA against the country’s historic beach volleyball rival Brazil. Now that she’s returned to the FIVB World Tour at the Gstaad Major, they’ll get their chance. Walsh Jennings and Ross won their pool on Thursday, giving them an automatic bye through Friday’s first Elimination round. No fewer than four Brazilian teams won their own pools to enjoy the same privilege. That sets up a bracket where, if Walsh Jennings/Ross and world champs Agatha/Barbara each win one game on Friday, they’ll meet in the day’s Quarter Finals.

Photocredit: Andreas LangreiterPhotocredit: Andreas Langreiter

There are plenty of other teams looking to be spoilers in the mix, however, including (but very definitely not limited to) the other pool winners – the three additional teams from Brazil and teams from Germany, Italy and Canada – plus the international field of contenders who will fight to emerge from the first Elimination round.

As Thursday drew to a close, the men’s teams had each played two of their three pool matches. Six of the eight pools had one early leader who was undefeated – representing Austria, Brazil, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States and Latvia – who will try to leverage that confidence to clinch a third game and their pool on Friday.

Photocredit: Samo VidicPhotocredit: Samo Vidic

In two of the pools, however, there was no definitive standout. In Pool F, both the Spanish team of Adrián Gavira and Pablo Herrera and the Brazilian stars Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego were undefeated, meaning that they will play each other on Friday to determine the pool winner who gets a bye through the first round of Elimination. The same situation exists in Pool G, where Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik are poised for a Friday face-off against the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen with the definitive pool win in the balance.

Play at the Gstaad Major begins at 9:00 am on Friday.