| Event type

Beach Volleyball, Women

Date24 July – 6 August 2021
LocationShiokaze Park Stadium, 1 Higashiyashio, Shinagawa City, Tokyo 135-0092, Japan
Participants46 from 16 countries
FormatTop 16 teams from round-robin pools advanced to the single-elimination tournament.

Three-time gold medal winner Kerri Walsh Jennings failed to qualify for the 2021 Olympics, having shortly before the Games undergone a sixth operation on her shoulder. The USA woman had won a medal at every Olympics since 2004 and, with three gold and two bronzes, helped the United States be the only women’s team to medal at four consecutive Games. Their best chance in Tokyo was with the World Championships silver medallists Alix Klineman and April Ross, the second ranked pair in Tokyo, while the sixth ranked Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil were also US contenders. Brazil had not won the women’s title since the sport made its début at Atlanta in 1996, but they had a good chance of rectifying that in Tokyo with the third ranked Eduarda Lisboa (known as Duda) and Ágatha, the 2016 Rio silver medallist.

Since winning the 2019 Word Championship in Hamburg, the Canadian pair of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes had put themselves in contention for a medal place in Tokyo, along with the German 2016 Olympic gold medallist Laura Ludwig and her new partner Margareta Kozuch. Ludwig returned to the sport in 2019 at the age of 33, after taking time off to have a baby. The Canadians were the topped ranked pair in Tokyo

The Czech par of Barbora Hermannová and Markéta Sluková were unable to play their pool matches because of COVID-19. The shock of the pool matches was the departure of the fancied Netherlands duo Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink, who exited after three defeats, while the Brazilians Ana Patrícia and Rebecca Silva were expected to win their pool, but defeat by Claes and Sponcil in their final match meant they could only finish third after just one win, but they still made it through to the last 16. The closest pool match was that between Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli and Germany’s Kozuch and Ludwig. The Swiss duo won 23-25, 22-20, 16-14.

Claes and Sponcil were eliminated in the last 16 by Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, despite winning the first set. The two Brazil teams were in action on the opening day of the knockout competition. Ana Patrícia and Rebecca beat the highest ranked Chinese pair of Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi, and gold medal prospects Ágatha and Duda had a potentially mouth-watering game against Germany’s Kozuch and Ludwig. It turned out to be very close as the third ranked Brazilians lost by the narrowest of margins 21-19, 19-21, 16-14. On Duda’s 22nd birthday, she and Ágatha had match point at 14-13 in the tie-breaker, but the Germans won three-in-a-row to clinch it.

The all-Swiss clash between the tenth ranked Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré and number seven ranked Betschart and Hüberli went to a deciding tie-breaker set, which was the longest of the match, and was won by Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré 23-21. With four teams seeded between 10 and 18 in the quarter-finals, it looked as though there could be a surprise winner of the women’s title.

April and Alix made themselves favourite for the gold medal after an impressive 21-19, 21-19 quarter-final win over Ludwig and Kozuch. Alix was a former indoor volleyball player who switched to beach to team up with April in late 2017. A place in the semi-final put April one step closer to the elusive gold to go with the silver she won in London 2012, and bronze at Rio in 2016. Going into the semi, their record was an impressive 5-0. Switzerland’s Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré caused a shock by beating the Brazilians Ana Patrícia and Rebecca, who had been struggling since qualifying from their pool in third place.

There were two Canadian pairs in the quarter-finals and the ninth ranked Bansley and Wilkerson came unstuck against Latvia’s Anastasija Kravčenoka and Tīna Graudiņa 15-12 in the deciding third set. The other Canadians, however, the top ranked Pavan and Melissa, were expected to go through to the last four but lost in three sets to the Australians Clancy and Artacho.

In the semi-final, the Australians won in two sets against the Latvians to become only the second Australian women to reach an Olympic final since Natalie Cook and Kerri-Ann Pottharst at Sydney in 2000. In the other semi-final, the American pair of April and Alix had an easy 21-12, 21-11 over the surprise semi-finalists Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré. For the first time in beach volleyball Olympic history, there was no Brazilian team in the semi-final of the women’s competition.

Switzerland won their first ever beach volleyball medal when Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré beat Kravčenoka and Graudiņa to take the bronze medal, while gold went to the favourites April and Alix, or the “A-team” as they had become known, who beat Clancy and Artacho 21-15, 21-16 in just 43 minutes. Victory gave the United States their fourth women’s gold medal in the last five Olympics, and it was 39-year-old April Ross’ third Olympic medal, but her first gold.

1United States 1USAGold
Left DefenderApril Ross
Right BlockerAlix Klineman
Right DefenderMariafe Artacho
Left BlockerTaliqua Clancy
3Switzerland 2SUIBronze
Left DefenderAnouk Vergé-Dépré
Right BlockerJoana Heidrich
Left BlockerTīna Graudiņa
Right DefenderAnastasija Kravčenoka
=5Germany 2GER
Left DefenderLaura Ludwig
Right BlockerMargareta Kozuch
=5Brazil 2BRA
Left BlockerAna Patrícia Ramos
Right DefenderRebecca Silva
=5Canada 2CAN
Left DefenderHeather Bansley
Right BlockerBrandie Wilkerson
=5Canada 1CAN
Right BlockerSarah Pavan
Left DefenderMelissa Humana-Paredes
=9United States 2USA
Left BlockerKelly Claes
Right DefenderSarah Sponcil
=9People's Republic of China 2CHN
Right BlockerWang Fan
Left DefenderXia Xinyi
Left BlockerNadezhda Makroguzova
Right DefenderSvetlana Kholomina
=9Brazil 1BRA
Left Blocker Ágatha
Right DefenderEduarda Lisboa
=9Switzerland 1SUI
Left BlockerTanja Hüberli
Right DefenderNina Betschart
=9People's Republic of China 1CHN
Left DefenderXue Chen
Right BlockerWang Xinxin
Right BlockerLidianny Echevarría
Right DefenderLeila Martínez
Left BlockerLiliana Fernández
Right DefenderElsa Baquerizo
Right BlockerMiki Ishii
Left DefenderMegumi Murakami
=17Netherlands 2NED
Right BlockerKatja Stam
Left DefenderRaïsa Schoon
=19Germany 1GER
Right BlockerJulia Sude
Left DefenderKarla Borger
=19Netherlands 1NED
Right DefenderSanne Keizer
Left BlockerMadelein Meppelink
Left DefenderAna Gallay
Right BlockerFernanda Pereyra
Left BlockerBrackcides Khadambi
Right DefenderGaudencia Makokha
Right DefenderMarta Menegatti
Left BlockerViktoria Orsi Toth
DNSCzech RepublicCZE
Right BlockerBarbora Hermannová DNS
Left DefenderMarkéta Sluková-Nausch DNS

Preliminary Round

Date24 – 31 July 2021
FormatWinners and runners-up in each group advanced to round one, along with the highest ranked third-placed teams.

Group A

Date24 – 29 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1Sarah Pavan / Melissa Humana-ParedesCAN33066-0MAX129-961.344Q
2Anouk Vergé-Dépré / Joana HeidrichSUI32154-31.333135-1201.125Q
3Katja Stam / Raïsa SchoonNED31242-40.500113-1230.919q
4Julia Sude / Karla BorgerGER30331-60.167106-1440.736
Match #124 Jul 12:00Pavan / Humana-ParedesCAN21-16, 21-14Stam / SchoonNED
Match #224 Jul 17:00Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI21-8, 21-23, 15-6Sude / BorgerGER
Match #325 Jul 12:00Pavan / Humana-ParedesCAN21-17, 21-14Sude / BorgerGER
Match #426 Jul 21:00Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI22-20, 21-18Stam / SchoonNED
Match #528 Jul 10:00Pavan / Humana-ParedesCAN21-13, 24-22Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI
Match #629 Jul 15:00Stam / SchoonNED24-22, 21-16Sude / BorgerGER

Group B

Date24 – 30 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1April Ross / Alix KlinemanUSA33066-16.000140-1091.284Q
2Xue Chen / Wang XinxinCHN32154-31.333143-1281.117Q
3Liliana Fernández / Elsa BaquerizoESP31242-50.400108-1370.788q
4Sanne Keizer / Madelein MeppelinkNED30333-60.500160-1770.904
Match #124 Jul 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA21-17, 21-19Xue / WangCHN
Match #225 Jul 21:00Fernández / BaquerizoESP19-21, 21-18, 16-14Keizer / MeppelinkNED
Match #326 Jul 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA21-13, 21-16Fernández / BaquerizoESP
Match #427 Jul 16:00Xue / WangCHN19-21, 31-29, 15-13Keizer / MeppelinkNED
Match #529 Jul 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA20-22, 21-17, 15-5Keizer / MeppelinkNED
Match #630 Jul 17:00Xue / WangCHN21-13, 21-10Fernández / BaquerizoESP

Group C

Date24 – 29 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1Wang Fan / Xia XinyiCHN33066-16.000138-1061.302Q
2 Ágatha / Eduarda LisboaBRA32154-22.000116-1081.074Q
3Heather Bansley / Brandie WilkersonCAN31243-40.750126-1280.984q
4Ana Gallay / Fernanda PereyraARG30330-60.00089-1270.701
Match #124 Jul 11:00Ágatha / LisboaBRA21-19, 21-11Gallay / PereyraARG
Match #224 Jul 20:00Wang / XiaCHN18-21, 21-15, 15-11Bansley / WilkersonCAN
Match #326 Jul 11:00Bansley / WilkersonCAN22-20, 21-12Gallay / PereyraARG
Match #427 Jul 22:00Wang / XiaCHN21-18, 21-14Ágatha / LisboaBRA
Match #529 Jul 20:00Wang / XiaCHN21-14, 21-13Gallay / PereyraARG
Match #629 Jul 21:00Ágatha / LisboaBRA21-18, 21-18Bansley / WilkersonCAN

Group D

Date25 – 30 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1Kelly Claes / Sarah SponcilUSA33066-23.000147-1101.336Q
2Tīna Graudiņa / Anastasija KravčenokaLAT32155-31.667135-1201.125Q
3Ana Patrícia Ramos / Rebecca SilvaBRA31244-41.000141-1251.128q
4Brackcides Khadambi / Gaudencia MakokhaKEN30330-60.00058-1260.460
Match #125 Jul 9:00Claes / SponcilUSA21-13, 16-21, 15-11Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT
Match #225 Jul 11:00Ramos / SilvaBRA21-15, 21-9Khadambi / MakokhaKEN
Match #327 Jul 11:00Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT21-15, 12-21, 15-12Ramos / SilvaBRA
Match #428 Jul 9:00Claes / SponcilUSA21-8, 21-6Khadambi / MakokhaKEN
Match #530 Jul 9:00Claes / SponcilUSA17-21, 21-19, 15-11Ramos / SilvaBRA
Match #630 Jul 10:00Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT21-6, 21-14Khadambi / MakokhaKEN

Group E

Date24 – 30 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1Nadezhda Makroguzova / Svetlana KholominaROC33066-16.000135-1011.337Q
2Mariafe Artacho / Taliqua ClancyAUS32155-22.500126-1191.059Q
3Lidianny Echevarría / Leila MartínezCUB31242-40.50098-1160.845q
4Marta Menegatti / Viktoria Orsi TothITA30330-60.000104-1270.819
Match #124 Jul 12:00Artacho / ClancyAUS21-15, 21-14Echevarría / MartínezCUB
Match #225 Jul 15:00Makroguzova / KholominaROC21-18, 21-15Menegatti / Orsi TothITA
Match #328 Jul 16:00Makroguzova / KholominaROC21-16, 21-11Echevarría / MartínezCUB
Match #428 Jul 21:00Artacho / ClancyAUS22-20, 21-19Menegatti / Orsi TothITA
Match #530 Jul 15:00Makroguzova / KholominaROC21-8, 15-21, 15-12Artacho / ClancyAUS
Match #630 Jul 20:00Echevarría / MartínezCUB21-16, 21-16Menegatti / Orsi TothITA

Group F

Date24 – 28 July 2021
PosPairNOCGPWinsLossesPointsSetsSet RatioPointsPoints Ratio
1Tanja Hüberli / Nina BetschartSUI33066-23.000111-1111.000Q
2Laura Ludwig / Margareta KozuchGER32155-22.500102-981.041Q
3Miki Ishii / Megumi MurakamiJPN31243-40.75089-930.957q
DNSBarbora Hermannová / Markéta NauschCZE30330-60.0000-1260.000
Match #124 Jul 9:00Ishii / MurakamiJPN21-0, 21-0Hermannová / NauschCZE
Match #224 Jul 15:00Hüberli / BetschartSUI23-25, 22-20, 16-14Ludwig / KozuchGER
Match #326 Jul 16:00Betschart / HüberliSUI21-0, 21-0Hermannová / NauschCZE
Match #426 Jul 20:00Kozuch / LudwigGER21-17, 22-20Ishii / MurakamiJPN
Match #527 Jul 10:00Betschart / HüberliSUI14-21, 21-19, 15-12Ishii / MurakamiJPN
Match #628 Jul 15:00Kozuch / LudwigGER21-0, 21-0Hermannová / NauschCZE

Lucky Loser Round

Date31 July 2021
FormatContested by third-place finishers in groups who did not advance automatically Winners of each match advanced to round one.
Match #131 Jul 17:00Fernández / BaquerizoESP21-15, 21-10Ishii / MurakamiJPN
Match #231 Jul 20:00Echevarría / MartínezCUB21-17, 21-17Stam / SchoonNED

Round One

Date1 – 2 August 2021
FormatWinners of each match advanced to the quarter-finals.
Match #101 Aug 9:00Bansley / WilkersonCAN22-24, 21-18, 15-13Claes / SponcilUSA
Match #201 Aug 10:00Ramos / SilvaBRA21-14, 23-21Wang / XiaCHN
Match #301 Aug 14:00Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT16-21, 21-17, 15-13Makroguzova / KholominaROC
Match #401 Aug 17:00Ludwig / KozuchGER21-19, 19-21, 16-14Ágatha / LisboaBRA
Match #501 Aug 18:00Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI21-12, 19-21, 23-21Hüberli / BetschartSUI
Match #601 Aug 21:00Artacho / ClancyAUS22-20, 21-13Xue / WangCHN
Match #702 Aug 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA21-17, 21-15Echevarría / MartínezCUB
Match #802 Aug 10:00Pavan / Humana-ParedesCAN21-13, 21-13Fernández / BaquerizoESP


Date3 August 2021
FormatWinners of each match advanced to the semi-finals.
Match #103 Aug 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA21-19, 21-19Ludwig / KozuchGER
Match #203 Aug 10:00Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI21-19, 18-21, 15-12Ramos / SilvaBRA
Match #303 Aug 21:00Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT21-13, 18-21, 15-11Bansley / WilkersonCAN
Match #403 Aug 22:00Artacho / ClancyAUS21-15, 19-21, 15-12Pavan / Humana-ParedesCAN


Date5 August 2021
FormatWinners of each match advanced to the final match.
Match #105 Aug 9:00Ross / KlinemanUSA21-12, 21-11Vergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI
Match #205 Aug 10:00Artacho / ClancyAUS23-21, 21-13Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT

Final Round

Date6 August 2021 — 10:00
Match 3/406 AugVergé-Dépré / HeidrichSUI21-19, 21-15Graudiņa / KravčenokaLAT
Match 1/206 Aug 11:30Ross / KlinemanUSA21-15, 21-16Artacho / ClancyAUS