Warsaw, Poland, June 10, 2007 - Chen Xue and Xi Zhang earned their second-straight Polish podium placement here Sunday after the young Chinese defeated Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro in the bronze medal match at the US$200,000 GE Money Bank Warsaw Open.
Seeded fourth in the 32-team Main Draw, Xue and Zhang posted a 21-18 and 21-14 victory over the third-seeded Talita and Renata in 39 minutes on a wet Agrykola Prak centre court in Mysliwiecka due to heavy rain showers before the match.
“We are thrilled to win a medal again in Warsaw,” said 18-year old Xue, who captured a silver medal in the inaugural GE Money Bank Warsaw Open last September with the 22-year old Zhang. “The wet conditions made play difficult at times, but we were serving good and able to score off our serve in the second set.”
In only their 17th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event together, Xue and Zhang have earned six medals with seven “final four” appearances. It was the Chinese’s second medal this season after placing third three weeks ago in Singapore.
Sunday’s win was also Xue and Chen’s third in the SWATCH series with the Brazilians as Talita and Renata eliminated the Chinese last week in Korea with a 28-26, 13-21 and 16-14 win in Seoul. Talita and Renata were seeking their third podium placement this season after winning the gold medal in Singapore and a bronze in the Shanghai season opener last month. In Seoul, the Brazilians placed fifth.
The GE Money Bank Warsaw Open concludes with the All-Brazilian gold medal match featuring second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca against the legendary tandem of Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede. While Xue and Zhang split the $16,000 third-place prize, Sunday’s gold medal winners share $32,000 for first-place.
The GE Money Bank Warsaw Open is the fourth of 18 women’s events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar. The women’s international Beach Volleyball circuit plays next week in Portugal for a double gender event starting Tuesday in Espinho.
Michael Bradley Photography