A power-packed line-up of teams has assembled for the FIVB World Tour 4-star tournament in Jinjiang (CHN), led by the Norwegian pair of Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.
Off of winning two five-start majors and the World Tour Final last season, they have continued as one of the dominant teams in the world, already taking the title for the Las Vegan Open last October and the Itapema Open last week in Brazil. This week, they are the top seeds:
1. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum (NOR)
2. Viacheslav KrasilnikovOleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS)
3. Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira (ESP)
4. Nick Lucena/Phil Dalhausser (USA)
5. Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs (LAT)
Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy also have two four-star wins this season, at The Hague Open in January and the Xiamen Open in China in April. Herrera and Gavira were runner-ups at Xiamen and also have a bronze medal on the Doha Open in March. Veterans Lucena and Dalhauser have one World Tour medal this season, a silver in Doha.
Two dangerous Brazilians pairs are seeded sixth and seventh: Pedro Solberg and Vitor Felipe, and Evandro Goncalves and Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
1. Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova (CZE)
2. Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa (BRA)
3. Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti (BRA)
4. Maria Antonelli/Carol Solberg (BRA)
5. Sara Hughes/Summer Ross (USA)
The Czech pair has been hot lately, winning the 3-star Kuala Lumpur Open a week after finishing second to Ana Patricia and Rebacca at the Xiamen Open. The Brazilians also won at The Hague Open and the 2-star Qinzhou Open last October.
Agatha and Duda have been quiet on the World Tour this season, with no medals so far. Maria Antonelli and Carol won a bronze at the Las Vegas Open last October. Americans Hughs and Ross were third at the Las Vegas Open in October and finished fourth in Xiamen in April.
The season is now about two-thirds completed and the World Championships are coming quickly, to be held in Hamburg (GER) beginning on 28 June, so the intensity is increasing. Look for results here.