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Beach Volleyball - 10. November 2007.

Thai Pair Challenge Three Chinese Women’s Teams for Hong Kong Challenger Gold

Diane Pascua (left) hits against China's Jie Wang (center) as Philippines partner Heidi Ilustre watches


Hong Kong, November 10, 2007 - It will be 10th-seeded Jarunee Sannok and Usa Tenpaksee of Thailand and three teams from China competing for the gold medal at the US$30,000 Crocodile Hong Kong Beach Festival 2007 and each tandem won semi-final-qualifying matches here Saturday at Victoria Park.

Led by Jia Tian/Jie Wang and Chen Xue/Xi Zhang of China, the top two-seeded teams in the Crocodile Hong Kong Beach Festival 2007, the four teams will compete Sunday for the $5,000 first-place prize in the last FIVB Beach Volleyball event on the 2007 calendar.

Fourteenth-seeded Zhongji Jiang and Jieqiong Jin of China, who joined Tian and Wang as the only undefeated pairs in the double-elimination event, is the fourth team competing in the Crocodile Hong Kong Beach Festival 2007. Jiang and Jin are competing in their second international event together after placing 41st in the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour where Tian and Wang captured the gold medal.

Tian and Wang, who finished the past SWATCH campaign as the No. 2-ranked team behind Brazilians Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, play Sannok and Tenpaksee in Sunday’s first morning semi-final followed by a match between the two other Chinese teams.

Jiang and Jin have won all four of their matches in the Crocodile Hong Kong Beach Festival 2007, including a preliminary victory Wednesday to advance to the Main Draw where the Chinese pair gained a spot in the “final four” with a 22-20 and 23-21 win in 40 minutes over Sannok and Tenpaksee.

The Thai pair, who finished 17th in last week’s 2007 SWATCH women’s season finale in Phuket, rebounded from their opening defeat Saturday to advance to their first FIVB semi-final together by defeating sixth-seeded Mered de Vries and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands 21-16 and 21-13 in 32 minutes.

Sannok also faced Tian and Wang in an international bronze match last December in the Asian Games in Qatar with Kamoltip Kulna where the Thai pair placed fourth. Playing with Yupa Phokongploy as the eighth-seeded team in the Crocodile Hong Kong Beach Festival 2007, Kulna’s team was eliminated from the competition Saturday morning by de Vries and Keizer 16-21, 21-17 and 15-12 in 48 minutes.

Competing in the sixth and final FIVB Challenge/Satellite event for women this season, Tian and Wang advanced to the semi-finals Saturday with a 21-14 and 21-14 win in 33 minutes over fourth-seeded Heidi Ilustre and Diane Pascua of the Philippines. Tian and Wang have now posted a 74-20 FIVB mark this season with $303,300 earnings for 16 events.

Xue and Zhang rebounded from a 21-17 and 21-17 set back to Sannok and Tenpaksee Friday to post three-straight wins Saturday, including a 21-18 and 21-18 victory over Ilustre and Pascua to advance to the semi-finals. The third-ranked SWATCH team in 2007 and 2006 Asian Games champions, Xue and Zhang have a 67-27 FIVB match mark for 16 events this season with $211,700 in earnings.

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