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2017-06-16 19:36:00 CEST

Kerri set for Gstaad showdown

American hero to return to her favorite beach spot

Last year's women's medalists pose on the podium. Photocredit: Mihai StetcuLast year's women's medalists pose on the podium. Photocredit: Mihai Stetcu

Olympic beach volleyball legend Kerri Walsh Jennings has been handed a wildcard for her favorite tournament in the Swiss Alps of Gstaad.

Together with new teammate Nicole Branagh, the pair – who will need to battle through a country quota match to reach the qualification stage at the Poreč Major – will start in the main draw in Gstaad.

Kerri, who won silver at last year’s tournament with April Ross, has a won an incredible six gold medals from previous events at this famous alpine hotspot, including the World Championship title at the Gstaadium in 2007 with Misty May-Treanor. No wonder she likes it here so much.

The second women’s team to receive a wildcard are home hopes Laura Calouri and Elena Steinemann. The Swiss rising stars will join fellow stars from the host nation Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart and Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré in the women’s main draw and will bid to prevent Brazilians Larissa/Talita from taking gold for the third year running. Eiholzer/Gerson, also of Switzerland, will be aiming to qualify for the main draw having been granted a wildcard for the qualification stage.

Other notable entries in the women’s main draw are China’s World Championship-bound Wang/Yue and Canada’s Camille Saxton – sister of our blogger Ben – and Julie Gordon, who have already pocketed two gold medals on the World Tour this season.

Evandro - back for more in 2017 after gold last year - but with a different partner. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.Evandro - back for more in 2017 after gold last year - but with a different partner. Photocredit: Daniel Gollner.

In the men’s competition, Swiss hopes in the main draw lie with three teams, Beeler/Krattiger, Jonas Kissling/Stasser and wildcards Gerson/Zandbergen. Gabriel Kissling/Heidrich and Breer/Haussener will hope to join them as they battle in competitive-looking qualification section.

The second wildcard in the all-important main draw went the way of American duo Sean Rosenthal and Trevor Crabb. The team, a new partnership for 2017, finished a respectable 17th in their opening tournament on home sand in Fort Lauderdale in February, before finishing fifth in Xiamen in April.

Only one-half of last year’s Brazilian champions are back for more in Gstaad. Evandro – who triumphed with Pedro Solberg 12 months ago – teams up again with Andre, aiming to go one better than the silver they won at the Fort Lauderdale Major.

Also in the men’s main draw are 2015 champions Alison/Bruno, who only finished ninth last year, and Cubans Gonzalez/Nivaldo.

It promises another breathtaking week in front of the beautiful backdrop of the Swiss Alps, so make sure you’re there and guarantee your seats.

Want to know if your favorite team has made the main draw? Click here for the full entry list.

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