Xue & Zhang Xi aim for successful season start in Fuzhou
Fuzhou, China, April 24, 2013 - Top seeds Chen Xue and Zhang Xi of China will take on England's Zara Dampney and Lucy Boulton in their opening match of the Fuzhou Open when the Main Draw begins on Thursday.
Chen Xue and Zhang Xi from China are home favourites at the Fuzhou Open|
Xue and Zhang Xi will be aiming to begin this World Championship year as they mean to go on against the new English pairing, who enter the Main Draw seeded 32nd after win their two qualification matches on Wednesday. With the absence of world champions Larissa França and Juliana Felisberta da Silva and London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, it may be the year of the Chinese pair.
An impressive run for Xue and Zhang Xi in 2012 included gold in Brasilia, Shanghai, Moscow as well as silver in Berlin and bronze in Sanya before ending the year by retaining their Asian Championship title and finishing second behind Larissa and Juliana in the race to be World Tour champions.
USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, seeded fourth, will hope to get back on the podium after a relatively quiet 2012 with bronze in Rome and gold in Bangsaen, compared to five podium finishes in 2010 and seven in 2011. When in form, the pair is capable of great things, claiming the World Championship title in 2009 and silver at London 2012.
After many years of success, Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Talita Da Rocha Antunes each enter Fuzhou with new partners. Antonelli joins 29-year-old Agatha Bednarczuk as the best ranked Brazilians, seeded fifth, while Talita is seeded seventh with Taiana Lima.
European challengers come from the Netherlands in the form of second seeds Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel, who beat Xue and Zhang Xi on the way to silver in Gstaad Grand Slam last year and are the current European champions.
The Dutch pair took the European title last year from the 2011 champions, Italians Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti who are seeded third and collected bronze at last year's season opening event in Brasilia. The start of 2012 was particularly fruitful for Cicolari and Menegatti having won Beijing Grand Slam silver before going on to claim bronze at the Berlin and Gstaad Grand Slams and another silver at the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam. However, an FIVB gold still proves elusive.
The final of the women’s event takes place on April 28.
Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province lies on the southeast coast of mainland China and hosts the Open event for the first time. The city held the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in 2012 where Taliqua Clancy was part of the winning Australian team.
The Fuzhou Open is the first of eight Open events during a bumper ninth-month season, which also includes the FIVB World Tour – 10 Grand Slams and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
The Shanghai Grand Slam is the next tournament on the calendar running from April 30 to May 5.
Please click here for the Women’s Main Draw full schedule and live comments throughout the tournament can be found on Twitter at #FuzhouOpen.
- Tianjin, Taipei undefeated, Hisamitsu lead Pool A after day 3 of Asian Women’s Club Championship
- Fuzhou Open Q&A: Get to know China's beach volleyball stars
- Birarelli eyes successful Club World Championship comeback
- 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball Media Guide now available
- Tianjin, Taipei enjoy second win in Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship
- Top players on form for clubs ahead of World League
- Tsvetan Sokolov dreams of becoming Bulgaria's champion with Marek one day
- Venezuelans back in tandem for Fuzhou Open
- Favourites have field day at Asia Volleyball Women’s Club Championship
- Makowski announces Polish 22 player roster for the year ahead
- Thailand and Iraq claim gold at latest Asian Beach Volleyball Tour event
- VolleyWorld reflects on a truly Italian affair with the Women’s World Championship Drawing of Lots
- England looks forward to hosting CEV Continental Cup tournament
- "ThrowbackThursday" recognizes anniversary of FIVB Constitutional Congress
- Poland announces men’s national team roster for 2014 season
- Wallace boosts Sada Cruzeiro ahead of Club World Championship
- FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship wild cards go to Trentino and Al-Rayyan
- Kids Beach Festival praised as fantastic experience
- Matin Varamin claim Asian Club Championship title, ticket to FIVB Men's Club Championship
- Baic Motor claim third spot with win over Kondensat-Zhaikmunay at Asian Men’s Club Championhip
- Beach Volleyball Seminar sets scene for season ahead
- Chinese Taipei finish fifth, host place seventh at Asian Men’s Club Championship
- Sierra Leone men and Rwanda women top podium of African qualifiers for Youth Olympic Games
- Al-Rayyan, Matin Varamin in finals of Asian Club Championship for ticket to FIVB Men's Club Championship
- Alison and Bruno continue impressive form
- FIVB World Tour champs hitting top form
- Sada Cruzeiro take Superliga title on their way to Club World Championship in May
- Serbian Beach Volleyball duo to celebrate FIVB Grand Slam debut in Shanghai
- Chinese Taipei, Iraq's South Gas Club Sports to fight for fifth place of Asian Men’s Club Champs
- Organisers of Moscow Grand Slam unveil plans for a memorable 2014 edition
- Kovac looking forward to getting to grips with Iranian national team
- Kondensat-Zhaikmunay, Matin Varamin, Al-Rayyan, Baic Motor cruise to semis of Asian club championship
- Argentina and Chile take gold in Tucuman stop of South American Beach Tour
- Zurich glory for Swiss and German duos
- Match times announced for FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship first round
- CEV President signs agreement with Danish Federation to establish Europe’s fifth Regional Volleyball Development Centre
- Field takes shape as more teams book ticket to Youth Olympic Games
- Watch skilled young athletes and training videos on FIVB Development YouTube
- Puerto Rican and American boys ticketed to Nanjing
- Puerto Rican and Canadian girls grab spots to Nanjing
- Top New Zealand pair out to boost beach volleyball’s profile before taking on world
- Volero Zurich leads national teams, as preparations begin for FIVB Women's Club Championship
- American duo breezes past opponents in day one in Carolina
- Canadian twins steal the show in Carolina
- South Gas Club Sports, Matin Varamin, Al-Rayyan, Baic Motor top their pools in Asian Club preliminary round
- Aussie pair takes important first step before FIVB World Tour
- Qatar, Vanuatu share honours at Khanom Asian Beach Volleyball Tour
- Al-Rayyan on course to a clean sweep in the preliminaries
- Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Qatar, China clubs remain unbeaten after Day 3 of Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship
- FIVB stars on show as Swiss Tour gets underway