Julia Grossner of Germany dives for the Mikasa in Tuesday afternoon’s country quota match (photo courtesy FIVB).   
Julia Grossner and Victoria Bieneck of Germany secured their berth in Wednesday’s Qualification Tournament with a straight-sets victory in the Country Quota Playoff as the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Sanya Open presented by Olympic Bay began on Tuesday.

Grossner/Bieneck beat compatriots Christine Aulenbrock/Chantal Laboureur 21-17 and 21-14 in 36 minutes in the only Country Quota Playoff match Tuesday afternoon.

Tomorrow will be our first qualification tournament ever! We just want to have fun and gain some experience, said Grossner. We will try our best and winning one game will be very well for us.

The tournament is the first of three single-gender women’s events for the 2012 season, which also includes three single-gender events for men along with nine double-gender events.

Thirty-four teams will vie for eight Main Draw tickets on Wednesday in the southern resort city of China with the Main Draw set to start on Thursday. Beijing Olympic bronze medallists Xue Chen/Zhang Xi of China and defending Sanya Open champions Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Fran from Brazil are among top title contenders.

Sanya is hosting the FIVB SWATCH World Tour event for the fifth year in a row and this year’s Sanya Open is also included as a part of the Beach Volleyball Qualification Tournament for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

China will again stage three FIVB SWATCH World Tour events in 2012 and the Sanya Open will be followed by consecutive double gender Grand Slams in Shanghai and Beijing.

The 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour kicked off at the double gender US $380,000 Brasia Open last week with Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China winning their 10th FIVB SWATCH World Tour title together in the women’s field while USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers landed their 22nd FIVB SWATCH gold medal in an all-American men’s gold medal match.

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the first FIVB Beach Volleyball event held February 17-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
SOURCE: boxscorenews.com

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