Joana Heidrich of Switzerland throwing kisses to the crowd after advancing to the Rio Olympic quarter-finals
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 14, 2016 - Six of the top eight-seeded teams in the women’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have advanced to Sunday’s quarter-finals with Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia and Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland posting “break-through” wins during the opening two days of elimination matches.
Both the Russians and Swiss pairs face monumental tasks Sunday against Brazilians Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, the top two-seeded teams and medal favorites in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games being played on iconic Copacabana.
Heidrich and Zumkehr will be seeking their first-ever international win over Talita and Larissa when the two teams meet for the fourth-time. Birlova and Ukolova have won two of their three meetings with Agatha and Barbara with both wins being in 2012. The reigning FIVB world champions, Agatha and Barbara defeated the Russians at the end of February in Maceio Open on the Brazilian coast.
The opening quarter-final match Sunday will pit No. 5 Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada against No. 4 Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany. The final match will be at mid-night featuring No. 3 American Olympic medalists April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings playing No. 7 Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia. For international meetings, Bansley and Pavan are 4-1 against the Germans and Ross and Walsh Jennings 4-0 with the Aussies.
With the men’s quarter-finals being played Monday, the women’s semi-finals will be Tuesday followed by the medal matches Wednesday. The men’s semi-finals are also Tuesday with the medal matches Thursday.
Here is Sunday’s women’s quarter-final schedule (all times local).
4 p.m. - Bansley/Pavan, Canada (No. 5-seeded team) vs. Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany (4)
5 p.m. - Talita/Larissa, Brazil (1) vs. Heidrich/Zumkehr, Switzerland (17)
11 p.m. - Agatha/Barbara, Brazil (2) vs. Birlova/Ukolova, Russia (24)
11:59 p.m. - Ross/Walsh Jennings, United States (3) vs. Bawden/Clancy, Australia (7)