Moscow, Russia, June 13, 2010 - For the 10th-time in the 19-year history of the women’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour teams from China and the United States competed against each other for an international Beach Volleyball gold medal with two of the confrontations being on the Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) in the Russian capital.
And for the second-time in three years, eighth-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang topped the women’s podium in Moscow by capturing the gold medal at the US$600,000 Grand Slam presented by SEAT by defeating second-seeded Jen Kessy and April Ross of the United States 21-17 and 21-19 in the 41-minute final. Both of China’s gold medal victories against the Americans have been in Moscow by Chen and Zhang.
In winning their fifth SWATCH FIVB World Tour title, the 21-year old Xue and 25-year old Zhang shared the $43,500 first-place prize as the Chinese topped an international Beach Volleyball podium for the first-time since defeating Americans Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs in the 2008 Moscow finale.
Kessy and Ross, who have two SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medals to their credit this season, split $29,500 for second-place. The Americans are now 8-7 in international finals while the Chinese evened their gold medal match record at 5-5.
“This is the best we have played this season,” said Zhang, who captured the bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with Xue. “We were helped in the semi-finals by playing in the rain. We played very consistent in the finale. Both our wins today are very satisfying as we feel our team chemistry is very good right now.”
Chen and Xue advanced to the 10th SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match by out-lasting top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil 12-21, 21-14 and 15-13 in 51 minutes. It was the Chinese‘s fifth win in 16 FIVB matches with the Brazilians as Juliana and Larissa had won the previous two meetings this season Brazil and China.
Kessy and Ross gained a spot in their 15 SWATCH FIVB World Tour finale with an 18-21, 21-18 and 15-13 win in 58 minutes over third-seeded Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes of Brazil. The Americans lead the series with Antonelli and Talita 5-4 with three wins in four meetings this season.
In the bronze medal match, Juliana and Larissa defeated Antonelli and Talita 21-18 and 21-18 in 41 minutes to share the $29,500 third-place prize. It was the 10th SWATCH FIVB World Tour between the two Brazilian teams with Juliana and Larissa holding an 8-2 edge. Antonelli and Talita split $18,400 for a fourth-place finish.
The Grand Slam presented by SEAT concludes Monday with the men’s “final four” matches where teams from China, Germany and the United States will be competing for the gold medal.. After the Moscow stop, the 2010 women’s SWATCH FIVB World Tour takes a two-week break before resuming play in Norway for the $600,000 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam in Stavanger. The men will compete next week in the Czech Republic at Prague (June 15-20).
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo