Gstaad, Switzerland, July 28, 2007 - The women’s finale at the US$1-million 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy was expected to be a repeat of the 2005 gold medal match as Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil would be seeking to avenge the Berlin setback against American rivals Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh here Saturday afternoon.
However, China’s Jia Tian and Jie Wang spoiled the anticipated rematch by upsetting Juliana and Larissa 23-25, 21-19 and 15-11 in 64 minutes in the second women’s semi-final match Saturday morning to advance to the afternoon finale against May-Treanor and Walsh. The Americans spoiled an All-Chinese finale by posting a 21-14 and 21-19 victory in 40 minutes over Chen Xue and Xi Zhang.
In addition to sharing the $60,000 first-place prize, Saturday’s gold medal winners will also earn 1,000 points towards qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. A team’s top eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour through July 21, 2008, count in the qualifying process along with any sanctioned continental championship.
May-Treanor and Walsh will be seeking to become the first men’s or women’s team to claim three-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Championships as the Americans captured the 2003 title in Rio de Janeiro before validating in Berlin where they posted a 21-17 and 21-17 win over Juliana and Larissa in the 2005 finale.
Saturday’s finale will be the sixth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams with May-Treanor and Walsh leading 3-2. Tian and Wang have won two of the previous three matches in grand slam stops at Austria last August and last month in a Norwegian semi-final. May-Treanor and Walsh posted a 21-15 and 21-12 win last month in the Paris grand slam gold medal match.
With the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships being the 160th women’s event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, China and the United States will compete for the fourth-time for an international Beach Volleyball gold medal with May-Treanor and Walsh winning all three finales.
The 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships, which also features men’s competition, continues through the weekend. The final two men’s elimination rounds will be played Saturday followed by the “final four” matches Sunday where defending world champions Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes of Brazil were eliminated by 33rd-seeded Shun Zhou and Jian Li of China 21-15 and 21-19.