2015-07-11 08:20:00 CET
The only thing certain about the women’s Semifinals at the Swatch Major Series in Switzerland on July 11 is that all eyes will be on American Kerri Walsh Jennings, who overcame injury in the Quarters to play another day. By taking out the new FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil, the gutsy superstar and her teammate April Ross have opened up the field.
The path to gold (and 800 Olympic qualifying points) is far from clear, however. The tournament’s number one seeds, Brazil’s Larissa França and Talita Antunes, are still in the mix. Having won the opening Swatch Major Series tournament in Poreč, Croatia, they’re looking to bookend the season with a victory at the closing tournament in Gstaad. Trying to get in their way in the Semis will be Canada’s Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan, who’ll be hungry for vengeance – the Canadians are the team that Larissa and Talita beat to clinch Poreč gold.
In Saturday’s other Semifinal bout, Walsh Jennings and Ross will take on yet another Brazilian success story from the FIVB World Championships, the new world silver medalists Taiana Lima and Fernanda Alves, meaning both Semifinal rounds will be North America vs. South America thrillers.
Also on Saturday, things heat up for the men. With only 24 hours before their medal rounds, every match will be an elimination. Eight teams won their pools on Friday to earn a bye past the first elimination round. Among the teams who must fight through that tough initial round will be two duos from Brazil – the newly crowned FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt (versus the USA), and world bronze medalists and Stavanger Major winners Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg (against Spain) – as well as two powerful teams from the Netherlands: In what’s sure to be a highlight match, the previous world champs Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen and the new world silver medalists Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst will face each other.
Men’s play at the Gstaad Major resumes at 9:00 am CET Saturday, with women’s Semifinals beginning at 11:00 am CET and medal rounds in the afternoon.