Chinese newcomers upset former Shanghai Open champions
Shanghai, China, May 2, 2013 – Chinese wild card players Jin Jieqiong and Miao Chenchen upset 2011 Shanghai Open champions Marleen Van Iersel/Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands here Thursday morning to record their first win together in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
Jin and Miao, who had united since 2011 but never entered the Main Draw in any World Tour event, pulled out a surprising 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) victory over the Dutch women in 33 minutes in their opening match in pool B.
“Yeah, we were surprised too,” said the 24-year-old Jin. “They are the top ranked team in the pool and we know they were the champions in 2011, we did not believe we could win and we just tried to do our best.”
“It’s really lucky to have the wild card and we are under no pressure at all, we are happy that we played a good game,” Jin added.
Jin and Miao exchanged their positions on the sand two weeks before the start of the season and that seemed to work out for them as they claimed successive titles in the Chinese National Championships in Xiamen and AVC Tour Open in Vietnam before walking into the Shanghai Grand Slam.
“It took time to play well as a team. I think we have better understanding and cooperation between us this season and the change in positions also helped a lot,” said Miao. “We are in good shape right now and we will continue to do our best.”
In the afternoon, Jin/Miao lost to Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe in straight sets 21-19, 21-11, but they still kept alive their hope of making the elimination round.
The other Chinese teams in action both recorded two victories in a row. Having collected an easy 2-0 win in the morning, Shanghai Grand Slam title holders Xue Chen/Zhang Xi overcame a slow start to rally past Russia’s Maria Prokopeva/ekaterina Khomyakova 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-10).
The newly crownly Fuzhou Open champions jumped to a 6-1 lead in the tiebreaker before the Russian women ran off four of the next five points to pull within 7-5. Then a serving error of Khomyakova, a lucky ace of Xue and a spike of Zhang pushed China up to 10-5 and the Chinese went on to claim their second victory in two matches.
“We had a slow start today, but I am happy that we could come out with a win,” said Zhang Xi. “We are just a little bit tired after last week’s play in Fuzhou and I think we’ll feel more and more comfortable in the next matches.”
Xue/Zhang’s teammates Yue Yuan and Ma Yuanyuan also posted two wins on Thursday to share the lead in pool H with Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands. Yue/Ma will play Meppelink/Gestel Friday morning to vie for the top position of the group.
Other top teams undefeated after two rounds of round robin play include April Ross/jennifer Kessy of the United States, Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler and Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Agatha Bednarczuk.
Thirty-two teams are playing a single round robin in eight groups with top three finishers from each group to advance to the 24-team knockout stage of the double gender Shanghai Grand Slam, the first of a FIVB-record 10 Grand Slam events on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar.