Spaniards Marco/García storm through to Xiamen Open semifinal

 Xiamen, China, October 10, 2014 – Spain’s Marco
Francisco Alfredo and Christian García enter unknown territory storming through
to the semifinal after three wins on Friday at the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball
World Tour Xiamen Open. The $150,000 Xiamen Open is the third visit to China for
the 2014 FIVB World Tour and the second consecutive year in Xiamen.

It was an incredible day on Guanyinshan Gold Beach for Marco/García
as the Spanish pair stormed their way through all three rounds to secure their
first ever FIVB World Tour semifinal.

“It’s the best result for us, it’s the first time we
have made it to a semifinal. Today we played three matches so it’s been a very
hard day and I’m very happy, but tomorrow there is more,” said García.

The first match of the day saw the Spaniards beat Israel’s
Sean Faiga and Ariel Hilman 2-0
(21-15, 21-13) in one of the quicker matches of the day at 35 minutes. It was
wise of Marco/García to try and conserve their energy for what was to come in
the second round.

Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Aliaksandr Kavalenka from
Belarus took the Spanish pair by surprise stealing the first set 21-10. Marco/García
then managed to turn the following two sets around in spectacular fashion with
little to separate the two teams. The spectators held their breath in the third
as the teams dived around the court saving point after point before Marco/García
finally finished it and fell to the sands in celebration, 2-1 (10-21, 21-19,

“The match was very hard, the first set I played very
badly. The second set was better and our third set was very good. The
difference was only one point, it was a good match,” said Marco.

In the third round match Marco/García were up against China’s
Ha Likejiang and Bao Jian and the Chinese crowds on centre court. The Spanish
team finished fifth in FIVB Anapa Open this year, but with their first final
four in sight, Marco/García showed clear determination from the outset.

Given half a chance, García powered down ball after
ball and the Spaniards took control of the first set. In the second, the
Chinese team began to creep up on Marco/García, with Ha Likejiang a giant
presence at the net. It was a Chinese service error that finally gave the
Spanish team their ticket to the semifinal 2-0 (21-16, 21-16).

“This result is very important for us in this
tournament as we can really use the points for next season,” said García.

“Tomorrow is another day. Today we will relax, have one
beer. Tomorrow morning I will think about the match,” said Marco.

have a medal in mind

Youseff Krou and Edouard Rowlandson from France began
the day confident in the knowledge that only two matches separated them from an
all-important semifinal position. Canada’s Maverick Hatch and Christian Redmann
were the first obstacle to overcome in the midday heat. The Frenchmen took
advantage of their fresh legs to win the match in straight sets 2-0 (21-19,

Their third round match saw Krou/Rowlandson pitted
against top seeds Turkey’s Volkan Gögtepe and Murat Giginoglu. The breeze had
picked up considerably by the final match of the day and the teams were dealt
challenging conditions as sand blustered around the court.

“We are really pleased because we were able to take
advantage of the conditions. The wind didn’t disturb our game and it even
helped us in this particular game against the Turkish team because we serve
really well against the wind and I think it was our best game as far as service
is concerned,” said Rowlandson.

“This match wasn’t as intense as the one before against
the Canadians because it was windy, but not so much sun. We still had to be
really focused on the bad side especially because we managed to side-out well,”
said Krou.

“When we were on the good side we were serving really
well and putting the pressure on, but when we went on the other side we really
focused on not losing any points on the side-out,” said Rowlandson.

Krou/Rowlandson’s 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) victory over the Turkish team takes them to
their first ever FIVB semifinal.

“We are hoping to win this tournament but we’ll be
happy with a medal. But when you are playing a semifinal it is to win,” said Rowlandson.

Russia’s Liamin Nikita and Barsouk Dmitri just beat Kotsilianos
Georgios and Zoupanis Nikos of Greece to the third semifinal spot after an epic
battle, 2-1 (22-20, 22-24,
18-16). Kotsilianos /Zoupanis finish with an identical fifth place finish to
last year’s Xiamen Grand Slam.

USA’s Theodore Brunner and John Mayer are also through
to the final four beating China’s Zhang Lizeng and Li Zhuoxin 2-0 (21-13, 21-14).

The men’s medals will be contended at the FIVB Xiamen
Open on Saturday.

With the Grand Slam portion of the 2014 FIVB World Tour
now complete, the tour continues after Xiamen with four double-gender FIVB Open
events along with one men-only FIVB Open tournament.  The tour will travel to Argentina for the
FIVB Parana Open (Oct. 28-Nov. 2) before heading to Doha for the men-only FIVB
Qatar Open (Nov. 4-8). India will then host the double-gender FIVB Vizag Open
(Nov. 25-30), before the 2014 calendar comes to a close in South Africa with
the double-gender FIVB Mangaung Open (Dec. 9-14).


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