Spanish and German pairs settle for silver and bronze at Fuzhou Open
News from the FIVB
Fuzhou, China, April 28, 2013. China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi thrilled the home crowd sweeping gold after defeating Spain’s Liliana Fernández Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan on the final day of the Fuzhou Open on Sunday.
Fuzhou native Xue along with partner Zhang Xi fully monopolized on their home advantage to the delight of the spectators. Liliana and Baquerizo put up an honorable fight, but Xue and Zhang Xi eventually won in straight sets 2-0 (21-14, 21-10). Xue and Zhang Xi took 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 being here, so it will bring us a lot of fortune.”
The 2012 European bronze medalists Liliana and Baquerizo collected 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 were supposed to do” said Liliana. “Maybe tomorrow we’ll feel a little better. This was a tough match because the Chinese pair is the number one right now on the tour, the favorite. It’s true that we didn’t have our best game,” said Baquerizo.
Earlier on Sunday Liliana and Baquerizo had 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 they added one more, taking bronze after their solid performance to 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 is continuing and it feels really good for us,” said Semmler. “It’s always hard after losing the semifinal to push yourself and to 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 were a lot of mistakes,” said Holtwick.
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.
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