The Swatch Gstaad Major in Switzerland announced its four wildcard entries for the event, which begins on July 10. Two were awarded to American duos and two stayed home with up and coming Swiss pairs.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and Nicole Branagh will compete in their first major of the year at the event, following ninth place finishes at both the Xiamen and Itapema Four Star events. The duo made its 2018 debut and Walsh Jennings first action since offseason shoulder and ankle surgery in April in Xiamen, advancing to the Round of 16.
Gstaad has been a great location for Walsh Jennings, who has won six titles there, including the 2007 World Championship. In 2017, Walsh Jennings/Branagh finished in the round of 16.
My eyes are watering with appreciation. Thank you for honoring @NicoleBranagh and I with this opportunity. We will do our best & give it all we’ve got. ♥️🙌🙏 Thank you @BeachMajors Thank you #Rudy #GstaadMajor #HeavenOnEarth #ComeupSlowdown https://t.co/7URHBGr6mW
— Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) June 19, 2018
Also receiving a pass to the main draw are Dunja Gerson/Laura Caluori. The Swiss duo teamed up in 2018 and has played in six FIVB World Tour events, most recently finishing fifth at the Jinjiang Two-Star on June 3.
On the men’s side, Sean Rosenthal and former NBA star Chase Budinger are on to the main draw. The duo teamed up in February and have played in two FIVB tournaments, both in May, finishing 33rd at the Huntington Beach five star and ninth at the Lucerne Three Star. The duo has played in both AVP events in 2018, finishing 13th at the Austin Open and fifth at the New York City Open last week.
Swiss pair Gabriel Kissling/Michiel Zandbergen round out the men’s entries. The duo has competed in six FIVB events in 2018, finishing in the top five three times, including a bronze medal at the Manila One Star on May 6.