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Cameron's spell? China's Xue/Zhang lost in women's beach volleyball semifinals

(Xinhua)

09:48, August 08, 2012

LONDON, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's sole beach volleyball hope Xue and Zhang were the newest victims of the Cameron spell?

The Chinese duo started strongly, but finally went down to the defending champions Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh 2-1 in the semifinals of the women's event on Tuesday, as the British Prime Minister David Cameron came down from his office nearby, and sat in suit among the cheerful crowd in the fully-packed center court of Horse Guard Parade.

The Chinese pair, the bronze medalists of Beijing Olympics, lost 22-20, 22-20 to their American rivals, who exhibited quality at crucial moments. The brilliant blocks from Walsh, the taller of the American duo, was decisive at the court as the young Chinese showed off attacking skills.

The Americans are on their course to the unprecedented third gold medal.

They will face the winners of the other semifinal between another American team April Ross/Jennifer Kessy, the fourth seeds of the event, and top seeds Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta Da Silva from Brazil in the final on Wednesday.

Despite the loss, the Chinese women still hold their heads high.

"We lost. We have regrets because we had chances to win and the game was truly close, but we have to swallow the result, because we can't let the failure crush us. We will fight for he bronze medal tomorrow," said Zhang, the senior partner of the Chinese team.

Zhang denied that they had played under pressure as the only Chinese team left.

Xue, 23, called the London journey " precious treasure" for the future.

"We saw the gap between us and the real good players like May-Treanor and Walsh. For example, when one was attacking, the other was always ready and managed to back up," said Xue.

The Americans also praised the rivals.

"They are one of the greatest players of the sport. Actually, it's them to bring us this high today and to have this wonderful match," said Walsh.

"China have another four young pairs playing the world tour. It's a matter of time for them to stand at the top of the podium," she said.

With Zhang's left-hand spikes, China started strongly to lead 7-4 and expanded the advantage to 13-7 with a 6-3 run. May-Treanor scored and Walsh's blocks leveled the score 13-13. The two sides traded blows as the Americans served in net to tie 17-all.

Walsh stepped to edge China with two kills to take the set point 20-18. China saved two set points, but Walsh's kill and Zhang's spike crashing into the net help the Americans take the opener 22-20.

In the second set, the Americans built up an early lead 4-1, the Chinese managed to follow up closely 12-15. Then the Chinese launched a brilliant 5-1 run to win back the lead 17-16.

The two sides traded kills but the Chinese duo managed to keep the advantage and win the set point for 20-19. But the Americans stayed calm and scored three points in a row with May-Treanor's spike. It was Walsh who ended the match with a spike, which was blocked out.

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