China’s Xue/Zhang win quarterfinals over Austria's Schwaigers
London, Great Britain, August 5, 2012 – With the setting sun illuminating the center court brightly to the delight of the sold out stadium, China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang won the first women’s quarterfinal match of the evening as they overpowered Austria’s Stefanie Schwaiger/Doris Schwaiger on the road to the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
A total 24 women’s beach volleyball teams from 17 countries started playing in London onJuly 28 in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
With the second women’s quarterfinal following soon after the Chinese victory, the second session for the final two quarterfinals will start at 10 p.m. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals that will be held along with the men’s semifinals on Tuesday.
China’s Xue/Zhang , 2008 Olympic bronze medalists, played near-flawless beach volleyball to eliminate Austria’s sisters Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger, who finished alsofifth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 21-18 and 21-11 in 41 minutes as the enthusiastic crowd cheered in awe.
China’s Xue/Zhang improved the lead in their series with Austria’s Schwaiger sisters to 5-2. The Schwaigers leave London with a 3-3 record and an official fifth place finish in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the other quarterfinals tonight at Horse Guards Parade, Italy’s Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti will face off against USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, two-time defending Olympic Gold Medalists who have now won 18 consecutive matches in the Olympic Games without a loss, Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova will challenge USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, the 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions and the final quarterfinal will feature Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions and six-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour champs meeting Germany’s Sara Goller/Lauras Ludwig.
The first set between China’s Xue/Zhang and Austria’s Schwaiger’s fairly close with the Schwaigers scoring first and leading early at 5-2 before the Chinese rallied to tie the score at 5-5 and took the lead for good at 9-8, building a four-point lead at 18-14 only to see the Austrian’s rally to trail 18-19 before China scored the last two points for the win. The set had four tied scores and one lead change.
The Schwaigers scored first in the second set and the score was tied at for the first three points before China took the lead they would never relinquish at 4-3, building up a lead to 14-7 before pulling away for the final victory margin of 10 points.
Using their strengths continuously to good results even though the Schwaigers continued to serve Xue, Xue recorded four ace serves, 15 kills, two blocks and four digs while Zhang contributed 12 kills and two digs. For Austria, Stefanie Schwaiger had one ace, 12 kills and five digs and Doris Schwaiger had seven kills and six digs.
Afterwards, Xue commented, “We played great tonight and the Schwaigers didn’t play their best. We stuck to our game plan and made the plays we need to make and kept our errors to a very few.”
In their Tuesday semifinal, China’s Xue/Zhang will meet the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal between Italy’s Cicolari/Menegatti and USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh.