Zhongwei, China, September 16, 2018 - Jingzhe Wang became only the seventh women's player to win an FIVB World Tour event in her first-ever appearance at a beach volleyball tournament on the international circuit as she teamed with Shuhui Wen to capture the gold medal at the Zhongwei Open here on Sunday.
Seeded 18th in the $25,000 event, Jingzhe Wang and Wen posted a 2-0 (21-14, 26-24) gold medal win over third-seeded Fan Wang/Chen Xue in the 39-minute all-Chinese finale to split the $4,000 first-place prize.
With 21-year-old Jingzhe Wang and the 24-year-old Wen playing in their first FIVB event together, the Chinese pair became only the sixth women's team to win a World Tour tournament in their first start together. The fifth occurrence happened over two weeks ago in Europe when France's Alexandra JupiterLezana Placette topped the podium at a home sand event in Montpellier.
Wen's gold medal was her second on the World Tour as she teamed with Xinyi Xia to win the June 2017 FIVB event in Nantong, China. In Wen's first FIVB event a week earlier in 2017 at Tangshan Jiangning, China, she placed second with Xia.
Sunday's finale also marked the fifth time that two Chinese teams had played each other in an FIVB World Tour women's gold medal match. With the Zhongwei Open being the 378th women's event on the World Tour since the start of FIVB-sanctioned events in 1992, China has now won 24 gold medals.
Jingzhe Wang and Wen reached the finals in the inaugural Zhongwei Open by defeating Chinese rivals and 14th-seeded Meimei Lin/Lingdi Zhu 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) in 34 minutes. The 20-year-old Lin and 25-year-old Zhu were playing in their second World Tour semifinal in their third FIVB event together.
The 24-year-old Fan Wang and 29-year-old Xue, who were also playing in their first FIVB World Tour event together, advanced to the finals by defeating second-seeded Elize Maia/Maria Clara Salgado of Brazil 2-1 (21-15, 18-21, 15-12) in 50 minutes. Fan Wang and Xue split $3,000 for placing second.
The 33-year-old Maia and 35-year-old Salgado prevented a Chinese sweep of the Zhongwei Open podium by posting a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) bronze medal win in 34 minutes over Lin/Zhu. The Brazilians, who were playing in their sixth World Tour event to post their best finish together, shared $2,000 for finishing third while Lin/Zhu split $1,400 for placing fourth.
The 2018 Zhongwei Open podium with presenters
The Zhongwei Open was the third women's event on the 2018-2019 FIVB World Tour calendar for women as this week's tournament was the second qualifying competition for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Olympic Ranking is based on the points earned at the 12 best performances as a team in the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Germany (Hamburg, June 28-July 7), FIVB World Tour events and recognized Continental Tour Finals (in case of multiple participation during the Qualification Period, only the best result will be considered) from September 1, 2018 through June 14, 2020.
The FIVB World Tour resumes at the end of the month (September 30-October 4) for the $150,000 Qinzhou Open for men and women.