FIVB Beach Volelyball World Tour

Fuzhou Open | 22 - 27 avril 2014


Press release

Walsh and Ross clinch Fuzhou Open gold

Kerri Walsh (left) became the most successful women's athlete in World Tour history after claiming the Fuzhou Open title on Sunday

Fuzhou, China, April 27, 2014 - Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh and partner April Ross from USA swept past Brazil's Juliana Felisberta Silva and Maria Antonelli 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) to clinch gold at the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open in Sunday's women's final.

It took the American pair just 33 minutes to win the gold medal of the first tournament on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and confirmed Walsh as the most successful women's athlete in World Tour history. The win was her 47th World Tour gold medal, one more than Brazil's Larissa França with Juliana on 45. Overall, Walsh has won 69 medals - 47 gold, 15 silver and seven bronze - from
90 events, equal with USA's Misty May Treanor but behind Juliana and Larissa (both 83 medals) and Brazilian legends Adriana Behar (86) and Shelda Bede (91).

Walsh is the third most successful World Tour athlete when also considering the men with Emanuel Rego (76 gold) and Ricardo Santos (55) one and two in the men's records ahead of another Brazilian Ze Marco de Melo (26).

In much better weather conditions than Saturday's men's final, Walsh and Ross gave Juliana and Antonelli a hard time in the first set of the Fuzhou Open final, displaying solid defence in the back row and at the net and pulling away in the middle of the set.

The Brazilians started well in the second set, jumping 4-1 ahead, before Walsh and Ross used an 8-2 run to take the lead. Brazil then called a timeout and returned to win three unanswered points to level at 9-9. The lead changed hands several times after that until 17-17 before Brazil saved a match point and then Walsh secured the set and the title with a brilliant block on Juliana.

"It's all we wanted. We're always excited to be on the top of the podium," said the 31-year-old Ross.

"All the best teams in the world came to this Open, because this is the first tournament of the season. It was a very, very tough tournament, a good indicator of how tough this season gonna be."

Ross, who took silver with Jennifer Kessy at the London Olympics, started to pair up with Walsh in September last year following Kessy's retirement. With the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro looming ahead, the two veteran players now aim to build a partnership, working hard amid high expectations.

"We're still growing as a team. I think we've made strides at this tournament. We just hope to get better and better," said Ross.

"April and I are a new team," 35-year-old Walsh said. "We have to improve a lot. We are excited to improve. This Tour is going to make us so strong because everyone is great. We're looking forward to the challenge and we want to win gold in Rio."

The final was a disappointing way for 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Juliana to finish her remarkable return to the World Tour. Having missed the 2013 season, Juliana  returned in Fuzhou with new partner Antonelli. The pair had never previously played together on the FIVB circuit.

Juliana, who was playing in her 88th FIVB World Tour final four, now has 45 gold, 21 silver and 17 bronze medals.

Earlier in the morning, Walsh and Ross came from one set behind to beat local favorites Xue Chen and Xia Xinyi 2-1 (14-21, 21-15, 15-11) in the semifinals, while Juliana and Antonelli downed Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado (15-21, 21-13, 10-15) for their spot in the final.

Fuzhou native Xue and Xia overcame the disappointment of missing out a place in the final by edging Maria Clara and Carolina 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in the bronze medal match

"We had prepared to play three sets, but we finished it in two sets," Xue said afterwards. "I think we played with a lot of patience today. We managed to hold our rhythm even when we were falling behind in the first set. That's key to our victory."

Xue, who started to pair up with Xia after her World Championship win in July last year, said she and Xia was very satisfied with their performance at the tournament.

"I think the competition over the past week is even more helpful than training two months, because you have to play under great pressure here, while in training you are usually less stressed," said Xue.

In addition to the Fuzhou Open, two other stops are scheduled in China in 2014 on the FIVB international schedule: the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam (April 29 to May 4), which starts on Tuesday and the FIVB Xiamen Open (October 7 to 12). All three are double-gender events.

Fuzhou Open Tournament Page


Fuzhou Open Tournament Notes


2014 Beach Volleyball Media Guide


Men’s results


Women’s results

Download highresolution

| More

More press releases

07.05.2014 17:00:18
USA's Kerri Walsh and April Ross answer fan questions

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 7, 2014 – The first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event of the year kicked off with a bang in Fuzhou, China, with a th... More...

28.04.2014 16:48:47
Ross and Walsh "know exactly what is required" - Natalie Cook

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 28, 2014 – Australian beach volleyball legend Natalie Cook looks back at the World Tour's first stop this year at the F... More...

28.04.2014 15:14:53
Chinese beach volleyball stars answer fan questions

Fuzhou, China, April 28, 2014 – New Chinese beach volleyball partners Xue Chen and Xia Xinyi made great strides at the first FIVB Beach Volleyball W... More...

27.04.2014 10:50:13
Juliana makes successful comeback to FIVB World Tour

27.04.2014 05:27:36
Juliana and Antonelli to meet Walsh and Ross in women's final at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

26.04.2014 16:17:48
Netherland's Meeuwsen expected to return to FIVB World Tour in May

26.04.2014 13:55:43
Defending champs Xue Chen and Xia Xinyi on course for gold at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

26.04.2014 11:49:29
Italy’s Nicolai and Lupo grab first FIVB World Tour title

25.04.2014 17:06:35
Samoilovs and Smedins through to semis at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

25.04.2014 16:32:39
Talita and Lima labor into second round knock-out phase at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

25.04.2014 12:14:46
Catch the action of the Fuzhou Open on FIVB Web TV

24.04.2014 14:47:00
Defending champ Xue and Xia stunned by Japanese qualifiers at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

24.04.2014 12:07:28
Emanuel and Pedro progress to knock out stage at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

23.04.2014 15:41:35
Plavins and Solovejs upset defending champs in Fuzhou

23.04.2014 13:16:13
Laboureur and Sude storm into Fuzhou women's Main Draw

22.04.2014 18:05:19
Walkenhorst and Ludwig aiming to take final step

22.04.2014 17:01:00
German pair Laboureur and Sude top seeds at Fuzhou Open Women's Qualification Tournament

22.04.2014 11:38:34
Salvetti/Daguerre lead eight teams into men's Main Draw at FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open

21.04.2014 20:43:00
Fuzhou Open starts Tuesday with men's qualifying

21.04.2014 15:20:09
Fuzhou Opens marks start of record-breaking season

20.04.2014 23:55:20
2014 FIVB World Tour debuts with Fuzhou Open

20.04.2014 17:36:14
Phil Dalhausser looks to climb back to the top in beach volleyball

20.04.2014 10:42:25
Fuzhou gets ready for first FIVB beach volleyball event of the year

19.04.2014 09:43:34
Fuzhou Open Q&A: Get to know China's beach volleyball stars

18.04.2014 10:41:08
Venezuelans back in tandem for Fuzhou Open

17.04.2014 17:59:46
Thailand and Iran claim gold at latest Asian Beach Volleyball Tour event

15.04.2014 17:27:05
Alison and Bruno continue impressive form

15.04.2014 16:58:05
FIVB World Tour champs hitting top form

14.04.2014 18:21:12
Zurich glory for Swiss and German duos

13.04.2014 11:20:07
Top New Zealand pair out to boost beach volleyball’s profile before taking on world

10.04.2014 15:04:34
FIVB stars on show as Swiss Tour gets underway

02.04.2014 21:27:50
Juliana back in business as Fuzhou kicks-off World Tour

24.03.2014 12:47:30
Juliana makes mark before World Tour return

30.01.2014 10:04:59
2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour ready for more highlights in record-breaking year