Five Gstaad Major openers to watch

10.07.2019 - Gstaad

As the beach volleyball elite gathers in the Swiss Alps for the 20th time, here are some of the first main draw matches you should keep an eye on

It’s happening again. The best beach volleyball players in the planet are reunited in one of the most iconic locations of the world for what will certainly be the most special tournament of the World Tour season.

The Swatch Major Gstaad has built a 20-year history of tradition and excellence in the sport and odds are we’re about to the see the greatest edition of the tournament as teams are fresh from the World Championships, the highest point in the season for most of them.

The main draw in the Swiss Alps village kicks off on Wednesday and here five games worth watching:

Who? Lupo/Nicolai v Brouwer/Meeuwsen

When? 9am CEST

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

Why? The first main draw match at the Red Bull Beach Arena is already a must-watch as it will reunite two teams who medalled at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Italians Lupo and Nicolai and Dutch Brouwer and Meeuwsen. Keep your eyes open for a fiery battler between Nicolai and Meeuwsen at net but also pay attention to all the trickery Lupo and Brouwer normally display behind them. This match is a tough one to predict as it repeated 15 times since 2011 and the Italians have a slim 8-7 lead.

Who? Mol/Sørum v Métral/Haussener

When? 10an CEST

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

Why? Reigning Gstaad Major winners Mol and Sørum return to the city in which they started their unparalleled 2018 run but they won’t have the fans on their side on their debut as they will face the young home team of Métral and Hasseuner. The Swiss are a new partnership formed in 2019 and they’ve already won a bronze medal in a World Tour one-star event, but against the Vikings they’ll have a unique opportunity to prove they can do more and challenge the sport’s elite.

Who? Stoyanovskiy/Krasilnikov v Beeler/Krattiger

When? 11am CEST

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

Why? The Russians will return to the court less than three days after winning the World Championships and they’d better deactivate their hangover mode if they ever were in one because they’ll face one of the top home teams in Beeler and Krattiger. The young Swiss didn’t play last week in Hamburg and they had all the time in the world to prepare for the Gstaad Major so expect them to come out firing all their cylinders against the recently-crowned world champions.

Who? Pavan/Humana-Paredes v Caluori/Gerson

When? 1pm CEST

Where? Red Bull Beach Arena

Why? The new world champions among the women will also debut against a home team as Pavan and Humana-Paredes will face Caluori and Gerson at the Red Bull Beach Arena. The Canadians have put a target on their backs by taking home the trophy in Hamburg and the young Swiss be the first to take them down after their victory. If Sarah and Mel don’t believe in coincidences, though, they should be confident because last year’s Gstaad Major started with them facing this exact same team and ended with them at the top of the podium.

Who? Hermannova/Sluková v Bieneck/Schneider

When? 2pm CEST

Where? Sidecourt 2

Why? An unfortunate toe injury sidelined Sluková from the World Championships edition in which she had the highest hopes of taking a medal, but the Czech star is already back and will be twice as hungry to make up for the missed time alongside partner Hermannova. Their opponents, however, are dangerous ones and are desperately looking to escape from a bad run of form that sent them to the qualifiers.