Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 15, 2016 - The women’s semi-finals here Tuesday will mark the second-straight Olympics and the 27th-time since the FIVB started sanctioning women’s Beach Volleyball in August 1992 that the top four-seeded women’s team have advanced to the “final four” together at the same event.
When play opens Tuesday at the 12,000-season “Coliseu on Copacabana”, top-seeded Brazilians Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca will be challenged by fourth-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany while third-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings confronts second-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas of Brazil in semi-finals.
Tuesday’s schedule also features the men’s semi-finals. The women’s medal matches will be play late Wednesday evening with the men following the same schedule Thursday.
The semi-finals at the London 2012 Olympics had the same seed match up as fourth-seeded Jen Kessy and Ross upset Larissa and Juliana Felisberta 2-1 (15-21, 21-19, 15-12) in 58 minutes while the third-seeded Misty May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings broke-through against third-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China 2-0 (22-20, 22-20) in 43 minutes.
The last time the top four-seeded women’s teams advanced to the semi-finals was two months ago in Germany where the top-seeded Ludwig and Walkenhorst defeated third-seeded Ross and Walsh Jennings while the fourth-seeded Agatha and Barbara stymied Talita and Larissa. Ludwig and Walkenhorst went on to down Agatha and Barbara in the smart Major Hamburg finale with Talita and Larissa defeating Ross and Walsh Jennings for the bronze medal.
The 2007 FIVB World Championships in Switzerland also featured at 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 semi-final pair as top-seeded May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings defeated fourth-seeded Xue and Zhang while third-seeded Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China upset second-seeded Larissa and Juliana.
With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games being the 311th women’s event sanctioned for women, the top-seeded team in a 1-2-3-4 “final four” combo has topped the podium 12 times with No. 2 and No. 3 winning gold five times each. The fourth-seeded pair has won for titles when playing in a “final four” with the top three seeded teams. A perfect “1-2-3-4” has happen four times with the last being in 2007 at a stop in Kristiansand, Norway.
The Rio Games are the 350th men’s event sanctioned by the FIVB since February 1987. Ten times has seeds 1-2-3-4 advanced to the semi-finals with the last being last September in Sochi, Russia.
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