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American qualifiers make Shanghai Open women’s semis
American qualifiers Brooke Hanson/Lauren Fendrick and seventh seeds Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer from the Netherlands stormed into the women’s semifinals with unbeaten records at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Shanghai Jinshan Open here on Saturday.
Hanson/Fendrick, the surprise winners over Brazilian top seeds Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca on Thursday, swept Austria’s fifth seeds Stefanie Schwaiger/Doris Schwaiger 21-17 and 21-19 for their sixth consecutive victory in Shanghai connecting the qualification tournament and the Main Draw.
“It’s nice to stay in the winner’s bracket. We felt a little bit pressure and we had to play a tough game, so we are lucky to be here,” said Hanson after securing with Fendrick their second Top Four finish in the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour. “We just try to stay focused at the moment, not thinking about anything else.”
“We hope we can get some more (wins) in this tournament and we hope to get our first medal as a team,” Fendrick added. “As long as we play our best beach volleyball, we will be happy with whatever we finish, but yes, we’d love to get a medal.”
In Saturday’s other winner’s bracket match, Van Iersel/Keizer eased past Brazil’s third seeds Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes 21-17 and 21-9 in 30 minutes.
“It’s easier than we expected actually. We expect a tough match, they’re another top team so we expect a match like yesterday,” said Van Iersel. “I don’t know (why), we were just really focused and calm and executing everything well. We played really well and got the win and to the semifinal.”
“I think we are still aiming for the podium, that’s what we are going for. We are playing really strong in the tournament. We really want to stay in the winner’s bracket and we work for it and get what we deserve. We’ll take some rest this afternoon, then go to bed early tonight and be prepared for tomorrow.”
Talita/Antonelli went down to American sixth seeds April Ross/Jennifer Kessy 21-18, 18-21 and 15-10 in a last round match of the lower bracket later on Saturday to finish fifth while Kessy/Ross set up a semifinal clash Hanson/Fendrick.
Juliana/Larissa, who had claimed back-to-back championships in Brazil and Sanya, had their title hope in Shanghai demolished after losing to Schwaiger sisters 19-21, 21-17 and 15-13 in the last match of the contenders’ group.
Also on Saturday, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers beat Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal in straight sets in an all-American final to claim the men’s gold medal. The US$380,000 Shanghai Open will lower its curtain on Sunday with the women’s semifinals to be played in the morning and medal matches following in the afternoon. The gold medal team will split US$30,000, the silver US$21,000 and the bronze US$15,000.
This tournament is the second of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which also includes three single-gender events for women, two single-gender events for men and a special 24-team Olympic test event in London August 9-14.