World Championships of Beach Volleyball

FIVB World Championships: Brackets Set For Women’s Side

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The most elaborate of preambles is, alas, for the women, at least, over. Pool play in Hamburg, Germany for World Championships has come to a close. There really weren’t any big surprises, as one would expect in a field of 48 where all but 16 teams make it out, advancing to a 32-team single elimination format that makes these past few days all but null.

Just look at that bracket.

Winning pool wasn’t a huge advantage for many, just as coming in third isn’t much of a disadvantage, either. When Kerri Walsh Jennings was in Ostrava a few weeks ago, she noted that the world tour is as deep as it’s ever been, and her first-round draw in Hamburg is as much proof as you’ll need.

Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat will see Brazilians Agatha and Duda in the first round. It’s a rematch of the semifinals of the Jinjiang four-star. Two Olympic favorites. The world’s best player of 2018 vs. the world’s best of all-time. In the first round.

Matchups like that decorate the bracket. Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado, the team who finished No. 1 in the world rankings in 2018, has the misfortune of drawing April Ross and Alix Klineman, who are currently putting together one of the most impressive seasons in the world.

Sara Hughes and Summer Ross will get to experience the full brunt of what it’s like to play against two Germans on the court and more than 5,000 in the stands when they match up with hometown favorite and legend Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch.

Point is: There are no good draws. Pool play, when the event is conducted in the nature of a true world championship, as it is, with representation from countries that, competitively speaking, don’t necessarily belong in an event of such magnitude, is as much a formality as there is in beach volleyball.

Look outside of the American matches and you’ll notice much of the same: Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, who came into the season the hottest team on the planet, seeded No. 3 in the world, get Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, who have three medals already on the year and won four events in 2018.

This is, however, the World Championships. To win a title of such prestige one must have to beat good teams. Now, with 16 out of the mix – and several of those, to be sure, are talented as well – it’s only the top flight pairs that remain.

Beginning tomorrow, bona fide World Championship volleyball begins.

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