China’s Wang Fan & Ding Jingjing to face Fuzhou top seeds
The Chinese pair finished second in Pool B after losing to Doris Schwaiger and Stefanie Schwaiger 2-0 (21-12, 21-17) earlier in the day.
After the final pool matches were completed, a draw decided the first round of the single elimination phase in the afternoon. China’s Wang Fan and Ding Jingjing were drawn against Hansel and Schützenhöfer and they beat the Austrian girls 2-0 (21-18, 21-18).
“I’m really happy and also feeling very proud,” said Wang Fan. “I think we had the advantage of being at home. I’m playing in my home country, so I’m familiar with the environment."
The top five seeded Main Draw teams, Chen Xue and Xi Zhang from China, Dutch pair Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel, Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti, USA’s April Ross and Jennifer Kessy and Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler from Germany each topped their respective pool to directly enter the second round of the knock-out phase on Saturday.
Wang Fang and Ding Jingjing now have the unenviable task of playing top seeded compatriots Chen Xue and Zhang Xi in the second round of the knock out phase on Saturday.
“They are like elder sisters to us. So we are happy to meet them here. We will try our best and there is no pressure at all,” said Wang Fan.
“We didn’t expect to get this far in the tournament , so we just want to be ready and try to show the best of ourselves.”
Sophie van Gestel and Madelein Meppelink from The Netherlands played Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Agatha Bednarczuk in their final pool match of the morning 2-1 (18-21, 23-21, 15-13). The loss placed the Dutch women second in Pool G then drawing Poland’s Kinga Kolosinska and Monika Brzostek in the first round of the single elimination phase.
van Gestel and Meppelink dug deep to beat the Polish team in three sets to progress to the second round 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 16-14).
“It was hard work, it was not a nice win, but we won. We didn’t play well – we were better at the beginning, but at the end not too well, but actually I’m happy,” said van Gestel.
In the second round of the knock-out phase van Gestel and Meppelink will meet Pool B winners, Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel also from The Netherlands on Saturday.
“Last year we played once against them, we won so I hope we can do the same but when you play a team from the same country it’s always different because you know each other so well. So I’m wondering about tomorrow, it should be interesting,” said van Gestel.
The women’s tournament continues on Saturday with the second and third single elimination rounds.
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 nine-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.
Follow live comments throughout the tournament at #FuzhouOpen