China’s Xue/Zhang bounce back with three-set win
London, Great Britain, July 30, 2012 – Bouncing back from a three-set pool play loss on Saturday, China’s second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang were first up among women’s teams in the morning session to win a three-setter as Day 3 began Monday for the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition. All the heated action is being held in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the historic iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
Under partly cloudy skies and no apparent signs of rain like what pelted the venues off-and-on for several hours Sunday, there are two men’s and two women’s matches each session with Monday’s action is featuring the second of three pool play round robin matches with half of the 24 total teams for each gender in action today.
China’s Xue/Zhang, the bronze medalists in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, held on to overcome Switzerland’s 11th-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, 21-18, 16-21 and 15-8 in 55 minutes as each team is now 1-1 in the pool with the final match in the group set for Wednesday.
In the stat’s department, China’s Xue had four ace serves, 10 kills, three blocks and nine digs while Zhang had 21 kills and 15 digs. For Switzerland, Kuhn was credited with one ace, eight kills, four blocks and five digs and Zumkehr had 3 arces, 17 kills and 15 digs.
Starting the match looking unsettled like they didn’t in their Saturday loss to Russia, China’s Xue/Zhang benefited from some erratic serving by Switzerland in the first set, losing the second and then working hard and well together to win the third with flashes of the form that made them a favorite for a medal in these Olympic Games.
Afterwards and more relaxed Zhang said, “We wanted to put all we had into this game, especially after our loss to the Russians. We had pressure on us because of our previous mistakes in losing to Russia. We played well this time. We were really focused and did not think about what happened in our first match or the previous sets in this match.”
In the other women’s first-session match, Czech Republic’s 13th-seeded Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova improved to 1-1 in their pool by dominating Mauritius’ Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert, 21-10, 21-11 in 28 minutes, the shortest match of these Olympics pushing Mauritius to 0-2 in pool paly.
In the men’s competition in Monday’s morning session, the first match saw Norway’s 18th-seeded Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr stop Canada’s 19th-seeded Joshn Binstock/Martin Reader, 21-14, 21-18 in 38 minutes, evening both the Norwegian’s and the Canadian’s record to 1-1.
In the last matchup of the session, for men, Latvia’s 16th-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Ruslans Sorokins moved to 2-0 while giving South Africa’s overmatched 21st-seeded Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt their second loss in two attempts, 21-13, 21-10 in 35 minutes.
The 24 teams in each gender took to the sand for real starting Saturday in the magnicificent purpose-built 15,000 stadium that rests in the shadow of legendary British Army commanders-in-chief memorial statues and the next door neighbor of No. 10 Downing Street, better known as the home of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The tandems in London have been split equally into six pools, playing each team in their group, with the top two advancing to the single-elimination knockout phase that begins on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team eliminaation bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings, with five more joining as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain has also been granted a berth as hosts.
Round round pool play continues Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. and continuing to the final match of the day starting at 11 p.m. with the other 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams playing their first matches of these Olympic Games.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-set stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.