China’s Sh. H. Wen & X. Y. Xia defeat top seeds to enter Tangshan Open semis
China's Xinyi Xia (yellow) faces Wang Fan at the net in a Chinese showdown with saw Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia enter the 2017 Tangshan Open semifinal
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It was a repeat of the China National Tour Tangshan Grand Slam semifinal just days previously that witnessed Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia win against Wang/Yue and eventually be crowned champions of the national tournament.
Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia made light work of their morning round of 16 match, defeating Canada’s Megan Nagy and Marie-Christine Lapointe, 2-0 (21-9, 21-14) before facing Wang/Yue in the quarterfinal.
Wang/Yue got off to a quick start taking a seven point lead in the first set and appearing on course for the win. Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia edged ahead in the second, overtaking Wang/Yue at 17-17 and sent the match into a tiebreak.
The tiebreak was tightly fought with X. Y. Xia’s boundless energy at the net and Yue’s power serve exchanging the points. But Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia swept the final four points in a row to earn a spot in the 2017 Tangshan Open semifinal, 2-1 (13-21, 21-17, 15-11).
Xinyi Xia from China in action on court at the Tangshan Open
“This game was fought very fiercely and at a very high level from both sides. The strength of our opposition is more than ours and we just entered with the mentality of hoping to learn from them and just keep going and don’t give up. We’re really happy to get the win in the end,” said Xia.
“There was one hope in my heart that if we could keep going in this match then we can keep going in the tournament, as this match was really tough,” said Wen.
Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte from Lithuania were up next against Loti Joe and Linline Matauatu from Vanuatu. In their first FIVB World Tour appearance of the year, the Lithuanian team posted their second win of the day to enter Tangshan Open semifinal, 2-0 (21-13, 21-13).
Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte (left) from Lithuania
“We knew that the number one player from Vanuatu (Loti Joe) is really strong, she has a lot of experience. So we came to the court really focused and we talked with each other that we have to fight for each point, it doesn’t matter the result and we are really happy.
We are in an FIVB tournament top four which is amazing for us,” said Dumbauskaite.
In a repeat of the 2017 FIVB Langkawi one-star gold medal match, Martina Bonnerova and Sarka Nakladalova from the Czech Republic faced USA’s Emily Stockman and Kimberly Dicello in the Tangshan Open quarterfinal. It was Stockman/Dicello who won the three set battle for the gold in Langkawi, but the result was reversed in Tangshan.
Martina Bonnerova (left) and Sarka Nakladalova from the Czech Republic celebrate victory
Bonnerova/Nakladalova enter their second FIVB final four of the year earning a convincing win over Stockman/Dicello, 2-0 (21-19, 21-15).
“We’re really, really happy because we played with this team on the World Tour tournament in Langkawi in Malaysia and we lost to them 16-14 in the tiebreak, so we’re really happy that we made it in two sets this time and we played better,” said Bonnerova.
“I think we had quite good defence, we had a little problem on calling where to play the ball, but I think we were a little bit better in defence and this decide the game,” said Bonnerova.
USA’s Betsi Flint during their round of 16 match at 2017 Tangshan Open
The fourth semifinal position went to USA’s Betsi Flint and Kelley Larsen playing in their first FIVB tournament of the year. In their quarterfinal match Flint/Larsen beat Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee in straight sets 2-0 (21-15, 21-18).
Flint/Larsen enter their first ever FIVB World Tour final four on Sunday, June 18.
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