Women's competition, Shanghai
From 26 May To 30 May 2004

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McPeak & Youngs Storm into Women's China Open Semis
SHANGHAI, CHINA, May 29, 2004 - Third seeds Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs of the United States stormed into the semi-finals of the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Women's China Open with a pair of straight-set wins here on Saturday.

After beating Nicole Benoit and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland 21-13 and 21-16 in the third round of the winner's bracket, McPeak and Youngs delivered Germany's Suzanne Lahme and Danja Musch 21-14 and 21-8 in just 27 minutes to secure a place in top four.

"There are no easy matches at this stage," Youngs said. "We just played very well today."

The German women found it hard to tear open the ironed defence put up by the 1.83-meter Youngs.

"I did some good blocking, that's something I should do for our team," Youngs added.

With world No.1 tandem Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States missing from the $180,000 Women's China Open, McPeak and Youngs, who finished second to May and Walsh in Rhodes, Greece last week, were in a good position to win their first gold medal this season.

"We will just focus on our games," Youngs said. "If we play well, we will win."

McPeak and Youngs' compatriots Jennifer Jordan and Annett Davis joined them in top four by defeating ninth seeds Wang Lu and You Wenhui for their fourth straight win in the winner's bracket. They will face top seeds Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil in the first semi-final match Sunday morning.

Adriana and Shelda were surprised by Wang and You 15-21, 21-19 and 15-13 Saturday morning, but they roared back with two victories in the lower bracket to stay in title contention.

Wang and You kept alive the hosts' title hope as they beat 15th seeds Tamara Peraza and Dalixia Grasset from Cuba in the last lower bracket match Saturday afternoon. They will challenge McPeak and Youngs in the other semi-final.

The medal matches are set for Sunday afternoon at the Jinshan Beach Volleyball Complex with the winning team splitting the $27,000 first-place prize.