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World champion through to knockout phase with perfect record

Chen Xue (left) and Xinyi Xia have hit form from the start of the Anapa Open
Anapa, Russia, May 29, 2014 – Chen Xue, one half of the current FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships gold medallists, wrapped up qualification for the knockout phases with a third win in pool play at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Anapa Open on Thursday. 

The Chinese superstar and new partner Xinyi Xia were pushed hard in the first set, but eventually defeated Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte 2-0 (26-24, 21-17) to ensure that they didn’t drop a set ahead of the elimination rounds. 

“So far it is going well,” Xue said. “I think we’re playing better than before, but there was a lot of wind on court today and that caused us a lot of problems, so there are some things we must improve.”

Xue won the 2013 World Championships with long-term partner Zhang Xi and they then signed off with another pair of gold medals at the Gstaad Grand Slam a week later.

Since then she has played with the 17-year-old Xia and together they won gold at the 2013 Phuket Open and the Durban Open and bronze in the 2014 Fuzhou and Puerto Vallarta Opens.

“I tell her every game we have to play like it is our first game and not to worry about pressure,” Xue added. “If there is one thing we can learn from our opponents or the game, then we will improve.

“I’m now the older one, when I’m used to being the younger one. We won in Thailand and South Africa and it is going ok so far.”

Martina Bonnerova and Barbara Hermannova also wrapped up qualification for the second elimination round by winning all three of their pool matches. 

The Czech duo had to fight hard against Jana Kohler and Anni Schumacher, but eventually defeated the German pair 2-1 (21-13, 12-21, 15-10).

“It is perfect, it is the first time we’ve won the pool and we’re really happy even though this wasn’t our best game,” Bonnerova said. “We comfortably won the first set and then clearly lost the second set. 

“I’m not sure what happened there, but it was mainly to do with our reception and setting. It was very important to be focused in the tie-break and not worry about what had happened in the sets before. We had a good service in the end and forced them into some errors.”

The women’s first and second elimination rounds and quarterfinals take place on Friday, May 30, with the semifinals and medal matches on Saturday May 31. 

The double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Anapa Open in Russia runs from Tuesday, May 27 through to Sunday June 1 and the top three teams in each gender receive 250, 225 and 200 world ranking points. It is the fifth event and the fourth Open on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar, which features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Moscow Grand Slam which runs from June 11-15.


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