Women’s final four set for Tuesday's beach volleyball semifinals
London, Great Britain, August 5, 2012 – With all the preliminary matches and first two rounds of elimination play finished the field has been determined for Tuesday’s women’s semifinals that will have two teams from the United States and one team each from Brazil and China have advanced to the threshold of the podium 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.
Advancing from three matches in pool play and two rounds of elimination round, teams earning a place in the final four and to Tuesday’s semifinals are Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh and USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.
Both the men and women’s semifinals will be held in two sessions on Tuesday night, the first one starting at 5 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m. The exact schedule is to be determined based on the outcome of Monday night’s men’s quarterfinals.
Meeting in one of the semifinals on Tuesday night, China’s Xue/Zhang, 2008 Olympic bronze medalists, will play against USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, two-time defending Olympic Gold Medalists who have now won 19 consecutive matches in the Olympic Games without a loss.
Playing in the other semifinal will be Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa, reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions and six-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour champs battling against USA’s Kessy/Ross, the Brazilians in 2009 FIVB SWATCH World Champions.
On the road to gold in London, China’s Xue/Zhang’s was the first to advance with their quarterfinal win Sunday night over Austria’s Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger, 21-18, 21-11 in 36 minutes. USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh earned their semifinal spot by winning their quarterfinal match over Italy’s Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, 21-13, 21-13 in 33 minutes.
In the other semifinal matchup, Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa advanced by defeating Germany’s Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig, 21-10, 21-19 in 41 minutes in their quarterfinal match while USA’s Kessy/Ross earned their spot with their quarterfinal win over Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, 25-23, 21-18 in 49 minutes.
In the head-to-head meetings between the two teams on the in FIVB international competition, USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh, 5-0 in these Olympic Games hold a 9-5 series edge although China’s Xue/Zhang have won the last three meetings between the two teams, including two in gold medal matches on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. The three-match run includes Aland, Finland on August 20, 2011, The Hague, Netherlands one week later on August 27, 2011 and most recently in the gold medal match on June 11, 2012 in Moscow, 21-14, 21-14 in 34 minutes. Of the 14 previous meetings only five have gone to three sets.
In the international series history between Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa and USA’s Kessy/Ross, the two veteran teams have met 22 times, with Brazil holding an 18-4 edge in the series between the two teams, including the last nine straight. In their most recent meeting on May 4, 2012 in Shanghai, Braizl’s Juliana/Larissa defeated USA’s Kessy/Ross in three-sets, 21-17, 16-21 and 18-16 in 53 minutes. USA’s Kessy/Ross last won over Brazil’s Juliana/Larissa on May 9, 2010, also in Shanghai and also in three sets, 15-21, 21-16, 15-12 in 56 minutes.