Sh. H. Wen & X. Y. Xia triumph in Chinese showdown for gold in Nantong

Nantong, China, June 25, 2017 – Shuhui Wen and Xinyi Xia defeated Xinxin Wang and Chen Xue, 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) in an all-China final at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Silk Tour Nantong Open.

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Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia took it one step further in Nantong, after claiming silver at the Tangshan Open one week previously. In only their second FIVB World Tour tournament together, the Chinese pair found themselves up against Xinxin Wang and veteren Chen Xue in the gold medal match.

Xinxin, playing in her first FIVB final four played alongside the experienced Xue, in her 51st final four and second Olympic final four after earning bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and fourth in London 2012. Xue had previously played with X. Y. Xia from the end of 2013 until the end of last year helping to shape the early career of the 20 year old.

If the familiarity of the two teams was to play a part in the final, also too were the morning semifinals. Wang X. X/Xue had the more physically demanding of the morning semifinals against Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte, winning after 53 minutes in the tie-break 2-1 (20-22, 21-14, 15-11), while Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia closed their semi against Russia’s Yulia Abalakina and Ksenia Dabizha in 36 minutes, 2-0 (22-20, 21-14).

Shuhui Wen and Xinyi Xia (right) during the gold medal match against Xinxin Wang and Chen Xue

The young Sh. H. Wen/X. Y. Xia are definitely a pair to watch for in the future, defeating Wang X. X/Xue in a 31 minute straight sets match for their first FIVB World Tour gold, 2-0 (21-18, 21-14).

“I’m so happy, I can’t even describe it. The first time I have reached such a high level and to hear the Chinese national anthem, I’m so proud,” said Sh. H. Wen.

“I think both teams played well today. We’ve been playing in a lot of matches recently using a lot of strength, so I think we persevered really well today,” said X. Y. Xia.

“I think our opponents played well, and I think we reached the level that we can play so we’re really satisfied with the result. Even though we made some mistakes, but we can learn a lot from our opponents,” said Sh. H. Wen.

China's Chen Xue during the gold medal match

The silver medal for Wang X. X/Xue is also an unexpected result for the new pairing.

“This was a very valuable tournament for us. We still have a lot of difficulties to overcome and we each have our own technical aspects that we need to work on. Every match is a great learning experience for us and to reach the last day of the tournament is contrary to our expectations. But it proves that all our hard work has not been wasted,” said Xue.

Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte from Lithuania earn their second bronze in a row on the Silk Tour, first at the Tangshan Open and now in Nantong. The Lithuanian pair who have been playing together since 2013 went from strength to strength in China, meeting Russia’s Yulia Abalakina and Ksenia Dabizha in the bronze medal match.

Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte from Lithuania after winning the bronze medal

The two teams had played once before with the Russian pair winning at the Moscow Grand Slam in 2015, but this day belonged to Dumbauskaite/Povilaityte. It was evident just how much each team wanted that bronze medal, with a closely fought match that the Lithuanians managed to close in two sets, 2-0 (26-24, 21-19).

“China is really lucky for us, we hope you organise some more tournaments here. After the semifinal, we were really disappointed, but now it’s amazing. Two World Tours and two medals for us,” said Dumbauskaite.

Russia's Abalakina (right) meets Lithunia's Povilaityte at the net during the bronze medal match

In their 13th FIVB World Tour tournament together, the fourth place for Abalakina/Dabizha is the Russian pair’s best result to date following a quarterfinal finish at the Langkawi one-star event in April.

FIVB Beach Volleyball returns to China for the U21 World Championships in Nanjing from July 11-16.


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