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China, U.S., Brazil dominate women's beach volleyball quarterfinals
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10:23, August 16, 2008

The United States, Brazil and China each earned two places in the quarterfinals of women's beach volleyball tournament at the Beijing Olympic Games on Friday.

China's two women's beach volleyball duos Tian Jia/Wang Jie and Zhang Xi/Xue Chen both eliminated their respective opponent and made history for China, whose best finish at the Olympics was ninth place, made by Tian and her then partner Wang Fei at Athens Games.

Tian/Wang beat Norwegian opponents Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen in two straight sets 21-13, 21-15.

"I'm so happy about the victory. We didn't play so well in the preliminaries matches, but we have walked past the difficulties," said the 1.87-meter Wang after the match.

"We'll be relaxed in the next match as we have achieved our goal," she added.

In another match, the 1.84-meter Zhang and 1.88-meter Xue dominated the net most of the time, downing Cuban pair Milagros Crespo/Imara Esteves Ribalta in two sets (21-19 and 21-13).

The Chinese pair has netted four FIVB World Tour gold medals and was also 2006 Asian Games champions.

Ranking fourth on the World Tour currently, Zhang/Xue is also considered serious contenders for medals at the Beijing Olympics along with Tian Jia/Wang Jie.

The quarter final will be held on Sunday and the Chinese duo are to take on U.S. duo Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs.

Asked if they fear the U.S. pair,who have experienced more major international tournaments, the 19-year-old Xue, also the youngest player in the Beijing Olympics beach volleyball tournament, said, "We don't fear them."

Defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh beat Belgian pair Liesbet Van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha 2-0.

They survived a scare in first set as Belgian duo led to reach match point 20-17. Then the two sides exchanged led as the scoreboard changed to 20-20, 21-21 and 22-22, before the Americans ended the first set 24-22 in their favor.

In the second set, the American duo, who never lost a game since last August, were back on their normal track, ending the set 21-10.

In all their three preliminary matches, neither opponents reached 16 points in any set against the Americans.

Another U.S. duo, Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs, eliminated Cuban pair Dalixia Fernandez Grasset/Tamara Larrea Peraza 2-0.

Brazil's Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro and Ana Paula Connelly/Larissa Franca eliminated Susanne Glesnes/Kathrine Maaseide of Norway and Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau of Germany respectively.

While Ana Paula/Larissa won in straight sets (21-18,21-14), her compatriots had to come from behind to down the other side (12-21,21-19,15-13).

Natalie Cook, 2000 Sydney Games beach volleyball gold medalist, paired with Tasmin Barnet to beat Efthalia Koutroumanidou/Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece.

The Australian pair had to play three matches before securing the top eight berth. The sets went 22-20, 19-21 and 15-12 in favor of the Australians.

Austria's Doris Schwaiger/Stephanie Schwaiger also needed to play the third before eliminating the German duo, Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig.


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1 China 25 9 5 39
2 USA 14 12 18 44
3 Germany 8 2 4 14
4 South Korea 6 8 3 17
5 Italy 6 4 3 13
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