BEACH VOLLEYBALL Preview: Final 5-star tournament of the season is the Vienna Major, with a $750,000 payday!

World no. 1s April Ross and Alix Klineman of the U.S. (Photo: FIVB)

Heading toward the World Tour Final in Rome in early September, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour for 2018-19 will stage its last 5-star Major this weekend in Vienna (AUT). The top seeds are no surprise:

1. Anders Mol/Christian Sorum (NOR)
2. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS)
3. Evandro Oliveira/Bruce Oscar Schmidt (BRA)
4. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (NED)
5. Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho (BRA)

1. Alix Klineman/April Ross (USA)
2. Saran Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN)
3. Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti (BRA)
4. Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa (BRA)
5. Nadezhda Makroguzova/Svetlana Kholomina (RUS)

The U.S. also has one other top-10 seed in Brooke Sweat and Kerri Walsh Jennings at ninth.

To say that “everyone is here” is pretty accurate. All of the top 15 teams in the FIVB men’s world rankings are entered and 13 of the top 15 women’s teams. No. 1-ranked Mol and Sorum have five tournament wins in the last three months and six during the season, plus a bronze medal in the World Championships.

Top-ranked Americans Klineman and Ross won in Yangzhou (CHN) last October and then caught fire in May, winning in Itapema (BRA: 4-star), then in Gstaad (SUI: 5-star) and have silver medals at the World Championships and last week in Tokyo (JPN: 4-star).

Mol and Sorum won in Vienna in 2018, defeating Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl in the final. Czechs Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova won the women’s division over Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves (BRA).

As a 5-star Major, the Vienna tournament has the best payout short of the World Championships: $40,000-32,000-20,000-16,000 for the medal winners, then $12,000 for the losing quarterfinalists, $8,000 for the losers in the round of 16 and on down to $4,000 for losers in the Round of 32.

The women’s finals are scheduled for Saturday and the men’s for Sunday. Look for results here.