9:01 am - Sunday September 25, 2016

Numerous upsets and a tour record highlight play from the Qualification Tournament at the Phuket Thailand Open


Brazilians Tatiana Minello (left) passes to teammate Ana Paula Henkel. They became the oldest team to ever qualify on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour with a combined age over 79 years.

On November 3, 2010 – A number of upsets wrote the storylines in the US$190,000 Phuket Thailand Open powered by PTT Qualifiaction Tournament on Wednesday as only three of the top eight seeds ended up advancing to the main draw.

Brazilians Ana Paula Henkel and Tatiana Minello, seeded 32nd, were the biggest shock as they emerged unscathed from the qualifier.

Ana Paula, 38, and Tati, 40, became the oldest team to advance from a qualifier in the history of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.  The previous record was just over 76 years combined, by Italy’s Laura Bruschini and Annamaria Solazzi in 2004, but the Brazilians eclipsed the record by nearly three years.  The duo needed three sets to win their first match against the 33rd-seeded team from Russia, but then swept aside the top-seeded team in the tournament, also from Russia. However, the second set offered some drama. Brazil scored the first five points and led 18-8, on the verge of closing out the set, before Russia scored nine unanswered points.  Ana Paula and Tati were able to hold on for a 21-19 win however.  In the match to advance, the Brazilians faced 17th-seeded Julie Rodrigue and Katherine Zakrzewski.  After splitting the first two sets, Brazil was up 9-8 before going on a 5-0 run to seal the match, winning 15-9.

“I love to break records!” exclaimed Ana Paula.  “We haven’t played since July (on the American domestic tour), so we were out of shape but I needed to start this year instead of next year with zero entry points.  I knew I’d have to pay this price but I like challenges.  I needed a break from all the traveling in volleyball, I was getting stressed.  I feel 28 in my mind and body.  And it’s not because of something that I have just done; it’s what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.  I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t go out.  Watch out for Rio in 2016!”

Canada’s Jamie Broder and Liz Cordonier were seeded 25th in the Qualification Tournament, and defeated two top-10 teams to reach the main draw for just the second time in their short careers.  After defeating the eighth-seeded team from Poland, they eliminated the ninth-seeded Japanese team 27-25, 23-21.  The duo had earlier this season qualified in Kristiansand, Norway after defeating a pair of Australian Olympians in that qualifier.  Canada also had a second team represented among the eight which qualified as 11th-seeded Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney returned to the site of their first ever event together (last year) and swept teams from China and Puerto Rico.

Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova, seeded 23rd, became the first team from Kazakhstan to advance from a qualification tournament this season.  In order to accomplish that, the 22 and 23-year olds won two matches against top-10 teams, with both going three sets.  They won their final match 21-11, 19-21, 15-12 against the seventh-seeded team from Poland to secure their spot.

Seeded 20th, Karla Borger and Britta Buthe from Germany, who are 21 and 22 years old respectively, are playing together for just the fourth time.  In their first two events as partners, the duo lost in country quota competitions, and were then one match from advancing last week in Sanya, China.  But this week the duo swept the 13th-seeded team from Japan before winning a main draw spot with a 20-22, 21-15, 15-11 win over fourth-seeded Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin of Great Britain.

Just three of the top-eight seeded teams were able to avoid quick exits.

Americans Ashley Ivy and Lisa Rutledge, seeded second and fresh off having to win two matches the day before in the Phuket Thailand Open country quota competition, advanced to the main draw by sweeping the 31st-seeded team from Malaysia before defeating the 15th-seeded duo from Australia in a three set match. Like the Brazilians, Ivy and Rutledge were in a close third set, leading 9-8, before finishing off the match with a 6-2 run that included a pair of blocks by Rutledge.

Great Britain’s third-seeded duo Lucy Boulton and Denise Johns, who have tied their career bests with 17th-place finishes in two of the last three events, swept a team from Kazakhstan and then defeated a French team 21-19, 19-21, 15-8 to earn a spot in the money rounds.

Roos Vander Hoeven and Jantine van der Vlist from The Netherlands, seeded fifth, won both of their matches to reach the main draw for the fifth time this season as well as the third straight event.  After winning a three-set match against a Greek team, the duo punched its ticket to the main draw with a 21-19, 21-18 win against the 21st-seeded team from Vanuatu.  The Netherlands tied the United States as the two countries having the most teams (11) advance from qualifiers this season on the 15-event SWATCH FIVB World Tour.

The 32-team double-elimination main draw begins Thursday and concludes with the medal matches on Sunday.
(above press release from www.fivb.org)

Meanwhile, Bob Selznick, organiser/coach for the amateur teams, told Phuketindex that the local hotel contest would start at 2pm on Friday, with final on Sunday at about 1pm; while the local school’s contest would start at 9am on Saturday with their final about 11am on Sunday. Times may change according to the weather and the professional contest schedule. Hotel guests, tourists and residents are welcome to come support their favourite local teams.

Phuketindex photos show the courts and sponsors area ready for contests;

and the Thai professional teams being briefed by their coaches.

 Phuket Thailand Open

 Phuket Thailand Open

Updated results and draw schedule for pro tournament are at

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