Despite having one player challenged with a knee injury, China’s Chen Xue and Xi Zhang still came out strong and got even stronger against the USA pairing of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross to capture the internationally-televised gold medal match at the Phuket Thailand Open last Sunday.
The gold medal match on the tropical Karon Beach center court saw the Chinese duo defeat the USA second-seeds, 21-16, 21-14 in just 40-minutes. Xue and Zhang leave Phuket with a perfect 6-0 record with each match being won in two sets while Kessy and Ross finished with a 5-1 record.
Gold medal winners: China’s Xi Zhang (left) and Chen Xue.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour visited Phuket for the sixth consecutive year at the purpose-built venue on Karon Beach for this extremely popular event at the dynamic tourist destination on the southwest side of exotic Phuket province. Many of the world’s current top and rising stars of women’s beach volleyball tandems were in Thailand to conclude the 15-event 2011 women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour.
The winning pair will share the $30,000 first-place prize while the silver medal team will split $21,000, the bronze $15,000 and the fourth place team will divide $11,200.
“My teammate carried me on her shoulders today and was always there when I wasn’t quiet there, it was remarkable to experience,” said Zhang following her team’s gold medal performance. “We really didn’t make very many mistakes and by controlling the tempo like that we got we really want—a happy ending. The Americans are a great team but somehow today we didn’t miss on very many, sets, digs, kills and blocks. My knee hurts but obviously it fells a lot better now.”
China’s Chen Xue and Xi Zhang (left court) take on the USA pairing of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the final of the 2011 Phuket Thailand Open at Karon Beach, Phuket, on Sunday, November 6.
In the bronze medal match Sunday, Italy’s fifth-seeded Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti overwhelmed Australia’s 19th-seeded Louise Bawden and Becchara Palmer in two-sets, 21-19, 21-15 in 47 minutes.
The Phuket Thailand Open was being produced by Pentangle Promotions Co., Ltd. of Bangkok in association with the FIVB and the Thailand Volleyball Association.