Xue and Zhang keep a hold of their emotions to reach women’s semifinals at Rome 2011
China's Xi Zhang (left) and Chen Xue celebrate their hard fought victory over Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes that takes them into the World Championships semifinals.
Rome, Italy, June 17 – Chen Zue and Xi Zhang needed to stay calm to pull off a surprise defeat to move into the women’s semifinals of the FIVB Swatch World Championships Rome 2011 powered by smart.
The Chinese pair opened the match with Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes by winning the first set, but lost the second. They then needed all their concentration to shut out the raucous Brazilian support to win the third set and take the game 21-17, 18-21, 15-11.
“The score was very close, but I think we played really well,” Zhang said. “It was close, but we were good. I had to forget about how I was feeling and only concentrate on the ball because I wasn’t sure I would win this game."
After Maria and Talita raised the pressure in the second set they appeared to have found their rhythm, but Xue and Zhang kept the second seeds at arm’s length throughout the third.
It puts them one step away from Sunday’s final and the chance of become China’s first ever World Championship medallists.
“I’m so excited,” Zhang said. “This is the second time we’ve reached a semifinal this year and I am sure we are through the hard times. So now I think we will do better."