After the opening ceremony and the starting game between the host nation Brazil and the neighbor country Argentina, which Brazil won in two straight sets, took place, yesterday the Preliminary round started in earnest. Because the ground was already very wet from the rain of the last days, all games yesterday were played on court number 4 to save the centre court for the coming days. It was planned that all games from Wednesday on will be streamed live on sportdeutschland.tv, but due to technical problems the first game of the day between Austria and the newbies from Australia could only be recorded. Unfortunately that was not the only difficulty the organizational team had to face this day. The weather forecast predicted heavy rain in the middle of the afternoon. So the responsible people decided to shorten the breaks between the games to finish as many games as possible before the rain sets in. The starting times were only published for maximum two games in a row to keep it as flexible as possible. The predicted rain set in during the game third set between Austria and Switzerland. The game continued in heavy rain. After this the last game between Germany and Brazil was postponed a bit and started then in very wet condition. The last two games were very tight and had to go over the full distance of three sets. During the day there were some very clear results, especially the 11:0, 11:0 victory of Switzerland against Australia.
Thursday the 2nd part of the Preliminary round was played. The weather changed extremely and the sun was shining the whole day. The first games did not have an exact starting time but have been played right after the next one and still on court 4. The court was not in a good shape with a lot of mud and very wet. It was difficult to play but the same for all teams. The game between Austria and Chile was the first little surprise. Chile won in two sets and had so a big chance to qualify the first time for the semi-final. For Austria the injury of one of her hitters during the training camp a week before the word championship was a too heavy burden and shock for the team. The last for games of the day were played with fix starting times and for the first times there were games on the center court. The field was in a way better condition and for this reason the games started to improve. Against the titel holder Germany Austria had de last chance to qualify with a victory for the semi-final. But Germany did not let this happen and won in two clear sets. The last game of the day between Switzerland and Brazil was tight and exciting. Brazil won the first set, but Switzerland did not give up and won the second set. So the third set had to bring the decision. Switzerland had the first two match points but in the end the host team Brazil won and saved rank two after preliminary round.
Tomorrow the first two games of the placement round 5-7 and the two semifinals will take place.
Below you find the results until now, the ranking after the first and the second part of the preliminary round as well as some impressions.
Pictures by Sönke Spille