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Bejing Grand Slam | Women
  7/05/2012 - 12/05/2012

Zhang/Xue, Walsh/May-Treanor out of Beijing Grand Slam

Kerri Walsh tries to block Jennifer Kessy in an all-American match in the elimination round
 Beijing, May 11, 2012 – Four of the top five seeds, including home favorites Xue Chen/ Zhang Xi and two-time defending Olympic champions Kerri Walsh/ Misty May-Treanor of the United States, crashed out of the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Beijing Grand Slam on Friday.

But reigning world champions and third seeds Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Da Silva of Brazil stayed on course for their first title of the season with consecutive straight-sets wins.

Xue/ Zhang, who took two titles and a bronze in the first three women’s events of the new season, surprisingly lost to seventh seeds Kristyna Kolocova/ Marketa Slukova from the Czech Republic 14-21, 21-17, 15-11 in a second-round elimination match and had to settle for a disappointing ninth-place finish.

“They were the better team today. It’s the first time we played against them this year and I think they have improved a lot,” said Zhang Xi. “From the second set they made some changes, which we failed to adapt to, and we were not good enough in our counter-attack.”

Kolocova/ Slukova, whose last victory over the Chinese duo was in July 2010 in Marseille, were thrilled with the hard-fought win in 49 minutes.

“It feels perfect,” Kolocova said. “We were playing our best, we were good at side-outs, we were good at serving – so we are very happy about it.”

“In the first set, we also played good side-outs, but then we made a few mistakes, bad reception, so they pulled away to win quite easily,” Slukova said. “Then we decided to change our tactics a little bit and served more to the blocker and then she had a little problem with the reception. It’s quite hard because we had to push them a lot. We are very happy about it, because last year we played them many times, we had some good moments, some good sets, but never finished the game, and now we really finished it.”

However, Kolocova/ Slukova could not overcome Italian 10th seeds Greta Cicolari/ Marta Menegatti in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon. In a rematch of their pool clash on Thursday, the combination from the Czech Republic lost in three sets again.

Walsh/ May Treanor, who came back from an opening loss to win the top place of their preliminary pool, missed the chance to repeat their title-winning feat in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2011 Beijing Grand Slam after falling to fifth-seeded compatriots Jennifer Kessy/ April Ross 24-22, 24-22.

“I am so impressed by my partner, I don’t know anyone else can play that injured, not able to look up in the sky at all and still win two matches after that. I mean it’s awesome; she was playing fantastic and I am impressed by her ability to want to win,” said Kessy of Ross.

A neck injury to Ross caused by sneezing forced them out of a pool match Thursday morning, but they came back to win two matches in a row to make the quarterfinals.

“She can’t move her neck; we have to change the way we play a lot to adapt to that,” Kessy said.

But later on Friday, Kessy/ Ross were also sent packing, by Sanne Keizer/ Marleen Van Iersel in a thrilling three-setter (21-13, 13-21, 15-10) against the sixth seeds from the Netherlands.

Second seeds Talita Antunes/ Maria Antonelli of Brazil failed to reach the quarterfinals following a 21-19, 21-13 loss to Germany’s 21st seeds Katrin Holtwick/ Ilka Semmler, upset winners over Kessy/ Ross in Wednesday’s pool play.

Holtwick/ Semmler went on to rally past Belgium’s 18th seeds Liesbeth Mouha/ Katrien Gielen 18-21, 21-12, 18-16 in 45 minutes Friday afternoon to make the semifinals.

With 42 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour titles under their belt but yet to win a gold medal in 2012, Larissa/ Juliana saw off Australia’s 20th seeds Nathalie Cook/ Tamsin Hinchley 21-10, 21-18 before ousting Germany’s eighth seeds Sara Goller/ Laura Ludwig 21-18, 21-17. Nevertheless, Juliana was taking nothing for granted.

“It’s not going be easier,” she maintained. “Three good teams out, but there are more good teams left in the tournament. Like I said yesterday, I don’t worry about other teams. I’m happy because today our performances were very good and we played very hard. We really hope to keep doing that for tomorrow.”

Larissa/ Juliana will face Holtwick/ Semmler and Keizer/ Van Iersel will take on Cicolari/ Menegatti in the semifinals on Saturday morning.

The women’s final of the $600,000 Beijing Grand Slam is set for Saturday afternoon, with the gold-medal team splitting $43,000. The men’s action will also continue on Saturday with two elimination-round matches.

The Beijing Grand Slam is the fourth event on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour for both men and women.

For more info contact press@fivb.org


More press releases
13/05/2012 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour Season Update
12/05/2012 Larissa/Juliana end gold drought at Beijing Grand Slam
11/05/2012 Zhang/Xue, Walsh/May-Treanor out of Beijing Grand Slam
10/05/2012 Mouha/Gielen upset Talita/Antonelli to make top 16 at Beijing Grand Slam
9/05/2012 May-Treanor/Walsh tumble again at Beijing Grand Slam
8/05/2012 Vieira/Lili lead eight teams into Beijing Grand Slam women’s Main Draw
7/05/2012 Brazil, Germany claim women’s qualification berths at Beijing Grand Slam
5/05/2012 Defending champs return to Beijing for Grand Slam