Chinese spectacle as Xue and Zhang Xi win gold in Fuzhou
Fuzhou native Xue along with partner Zhang Xi fully monopolised on their home advantage to the delight of the spectators. Liliana and Baquerizo put up an honourable fight, but Xue and Zhang Xi continued their domineering form winning in straight sets 2-0 (21-14, 21-10).
Xue and Zhang Xi take their fourth World Tour/Open gold in China following a flawless tournament in which they did not drop a set. In their morning semifinal, Xue and Zhang Xi wasted little time beating Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler in just 35 minutes 2-0 (21-15, 21-14).
“Our first day here, we trained very well and just went one step by one step and proved ourselves,” said Xue.
“I think being in Fuzhou helped a lot. I said before the match that I live here and I love here, so it will bring us a lot of fortune.”
Liliana and Baquerizo collect only their second World Tour/Open medal after winning silver at the Aland Open in 2012, but with gold within reach, the Spaniards could not help but feel a little disappointed.
“We’re feeling a bit happy and a bit sad because we got a medal and this is good. But I’m not feeling very good about the game I played. I had prepared a lot and tried to deal with these kinds of situation in a game.
“We didn’t do what we know to do, what we have trained for, so the feeling is that we didn’t do what we know,” said Liliana.
“Maybe tomorrow we’ll feel a little better. This was a tough match because Chinese is number one right now on the tour, the favourite. It’s true that we didn’t have our best game,” said Baquerizo.
Germany takes bronze
Liliana and Baquerizo quickly found their rhythm in the semifinal beating Sophie van Gestel and Madelein Meppelink from the Netherlands 2-0 (21-14, 21-18). van Gestel and Meppelink, in only their second FIVB World Tour/Open final four, then faced Holtwick and Semmler in the bronze medal match.
Holtwick and Semmler, playing together since 2006, already had five World Tour/Open medals and today they add one more, taking bronze after their solid performance beat the Dutch women 2-0 (21-17, 21-18).
“We feel amazing, it’s our first tournament of the year and we never thought that we would start the season that well. We finished quite well last season and it’s continuing and it feels really good for us,” said Semmler.
“It’s always hard after losing the semifinal to push yourself and come back on the court. We just had a short break between the matches, but we really wanted to win that one. It was not a very nice game as there was a lot of mistakes,” said Holtwick.
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.
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Please click here for Angelo Squeo, FIVB Beach Volleyball Events Director comments on the Fuzhou Open