After a two-month break following the 2021 Finals, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour returns for its last ever event, a double-gender four-star tournament in Itapema, Brazil starting on Wednesday.
Itapema ready for last ever World Tour event
This week the Brazilian city hosts its third Tour tournament
Published 07:42, 09 Nov 2021
The event, which will be played at the Meia Praia Beach and will run until Sunday, will not only cap off the 2021 international season but also mark the end of an era in the sport as, starting in 2022, the World Tour will be replaced by the recently-announced Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour.
Located in the south of Brazil, Itapema is set to host a World Tour event for the third time. While in 2018 the host country took the title in both genders with Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola, it was Tokyo Olympic champions April Ross/Alix Klineman of the United States and Anders Mol/Christian Sorum of Norway who claimed gold in 2019.
From the four teams that have topped the podium in Itapema in the past, Agatha and Duda are the only tandem to compete this season. The event will mark their final appearance together as they recently announced their decision to go separate ways after five years as partners.
Hosts Brazil will feature a pair of new teams in Talita Antunes/Rebecca Cavalcanti and Maria Elisa Antonelli/Fernanda Berti, who complete the top five in the entry rankings with Agatha/Duda and Tokyo Olympians Katja Stam/Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands and Ana Gallay/Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.
The tournament will also present a handful of new international teams, most notably the Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova/Marie-Sara Stochlova, Japan’s Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe and Spain’s Maria Carro/Angela Lobato.
On the men’s side, Argentineans Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso are the only team that competed at the Tokyo Olympics guaranteed a place in the main draw. They too will be playing together for a final time after announcing their decision to split.
The Argentineans rank fourth in the entry list, below three Brazilian teams. The new duos of Evandro/Alvaro Filho and Alison Cerutti/Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes and the three-year partnership of Andre and George Wanderley are joined by Americans Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner in the top five.
Among the new teams set to debut in the men’s tournament there is also the one composed of Americans Taylor Sander and Taylor Crabb. A two-time Olympian with the USA men’s volleyball team, Sander has recently transitioned to the sand and will play for the first time alongside Crabb. Italian Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Daniele Lupo is also set to appear with a new partner for the first time since 2010 after splitting with Paolo Nicolai to join fellow Olympian Alex Ranghieri.
Qualification opens the tournament on Wednesday with pool play following on Thursday. Friday’s schedule will feature both the Round of 24 and Round of 16 matches, while the quarterfinals and semifinals are set to take place on Saturday. The medal matches in both genders will take place on Sunday.