Barbara/Fernanda and Klineman/Ross elude Chinese duos in tiebreakers
USA's Alexandra Klineman and April Ross prevailed in the three-set thriller against China in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Yangzhou 4-star
Brazilians Barbara and Fernanda dropped the first set, but recovered in the next two frames to record a 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-11) win against young Chinese pair Bai Bing and Yuan Lvwen.
“We know that the game could have been better but it’s our first to play against this Chinese team, who are very young and skillful,” Barbara said. “We started with a slow rhythm in the first set – our service and defence system were not working well. In the second set we started to push more and our service improved, which gave us the confidence to take it to the third set.”
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USA pair Klineman and Ross also rallied from a set down and persevered in the exciting tie-break set to finish with a 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 26-24) triumph over China’s Lin Meimei and Zhu Lingdi.
“They pushed us hard and we feel very lucky to get away with that match, we played a very good China team,” Ross said.
“We are still getting in rhythm and there were some things that we could have done better on our side, but it came down to fighting,” Klineman added. “Both teams fought really hard and they definitely made it hard on us. I am proud of our perseverance. A win is a win and we are happy to get that result.”
Five other matches ended in tie-break, with USA’s Sara Hughes and Summer Ross, Switzerland’s Nina Betschart/Tanja Huberli, Spain’s Amaranta Fernandez and Angela Lobato and China’s Wang Fan and Xue Chen all prevailing against their opponents.
Meanwhile, three-time Olympic gold medallist Kerri Walsh Jennings and partner Kelly Claes won their first pool play match in Yangzhou with a 2-0 (25-23, 21-13) victory over the Netherlands’ Jolien Sinnema and Laura Bloem.
“I feel like I have a gift in my hand to be playing with Kelly because of the way she plays and the type of person she is,” Walsh Jennings said. “I’m nervous because I want to do well. It feels so very good to be back here.
Walsh Jennings is on the chase for another stint in the Olympic Games and to win the gold medal in Tokyo, Japan.
“My goal is to keep getting better. I want to ultimately win the gold medal in Tokyo. The qualification starts now and my points are very low, so I have to make the climb. I want to be the best I’ve ever been.”
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