Beach meets mountains in glorious Gstaad

Courtesy of Beach Volleyball Major Series – Media Service

Katharina Schuetzenhoefer and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria compete against Norisbeth Isais Agudo Gonzalez and Gabriela Brito of Venezuela during the third stage of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland on July 4, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Mihai Stetcu/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

Grüezi Gstaad – from the Croatian coast to the majestic mountains.

There’s no rest for the wicked as the Swatch Major Series upped sticks from the Croatian coast and rose to the majestic mountains for its second tournament in the space of a week on Tuesday.

The USD 600,000 Gstaad Major is – at 1,050 meters above sea level in the Swiss Alps – the highest international beach volleyball competition in the world and follows quickly in the footsteps of last week’s Poreč Major.

This week’s picturesque five-star event kicked off on Tuesday with qualification and the sensations from Poreč Major, Brazilians Pedro Solberg Salgado and Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes, enjoying even more joy on the sand.

The pair hot-footed it from Poreč just hours after winning gold to get to this beautiful Swiss location to play in a country quota match on Monday. Having successfully negotiated that match, the Brazilian team then ensured their place in the main draw with a 21-16, 21-13 qualification victory over Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann and Armin Dollinger.

Guto and Pedro – who won here last year with former partner Evandro Goncalves Oliveria Junior – were joined seven other men’s qualifiers in the 32-team strong main draw all hoping to get their hands on a coveted cowbell – the unique Swiss trophy.

Taiana De Souza Lima and Elize Secomandi Maia of Brazil competing against Tatyana Mashkova and Bakhtygul Samalikova of Kazakhstan during the third stage of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland on July 4, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Mihai Stetcu/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

Once again, the competition will be fierce in both the men’s and women’s tournaments with a host of previous winners, Olympic and World champions among the star-studded line-up.

Brazilians Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes have won Gstaad Major gold in the past two years and, following a quarterfinal exit at the Poreč Major last week, will be gunning to make it a glorious hat-trick on this unique Center Court.

Larissa and Talita beat the United States’ Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross in last year’s final but both Americans arrive in Switzerland with different partners. Three-time Olympic and World Champion Kerri has won six gold medals in the history of beach volleyball in Gstaad – this year she teams up with Nicole Branagh. April, meanwhile will head to the court alongside Lauren Fendrick.

One team, that won’t be strutting their stuff on the sand in Gstaad will be the women’s 2016 Olympic champions from Germany, Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst. An injury to Walkenhorst has put pay to the chances of last season’s bronze medalists.

However, reigning men’s Olympic champions, Alison Cerutti and Alison Bruno Schmidt, are in Gstaad. The Brazilians won this tournament in 2015 and last week’s Poreč Major bronze medalists will be out to return back to the top spot on the podium.

The men’s and women’s main draw competition begins at 8.30am CET on Wednesday and the first knockout matches start on Thursday.

Armin Dollinger of Germany spikes the ball during the third stage of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland on July 4, 2017. –
Photographer Credit:
Daniel Grund/ Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series/ Red Bull Content Pool

 

Gstaad Major 2017
July 4 – 9, 2017
#GstaadMajor

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