Sydney, Australia, March 7, 2019 – Former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Xue Chen took on the role of the leader of the Chinese teams that recorded victories in the first round of pool play at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Sydney 3-star on Thursday.

“I am the leader of the group probably because I am the oldest and the most experienced,” Xue said. “I take this responsibility seriously and I act as a role model to my younger teammates. I train harder so that they will also train hard.”

Xue and young partner Wang Xinxin defeated Canada’s Taylor Pischke and Sophie Bukovec 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in 34 minutes. The 30-year-old Xue felt they had a shaky start, but was satisfied with their performance after they won against their opponents in Pool H.

“My partner’s reception was great in this match. They spiked very hard but they didn’t score a lot on service. Our block and defence were good and I am satisfied with how well we managed to limit our errors.

“This is the first match for me and my partner this year. We didn’t really have a good start because we did not get enough training last November since we formed the new partnership. However, after playing this match, I realise that we have improved a lot since we first played together. This win gives our team a lot of confidence in this competition.”

Xue’s compatriots Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi logged a 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) win against Poland’s Monika Brzostek and Aleksandra Wachowicz, forcing an all-Chinese encounter for Pool H leadership on Friday.

“We know each other very well because we have trained together for many years, so it will be an interesting match tomorrow,” Xue said. “I hope we can reach at least the semifinals.”

Meanwhile, Lin Meimei and Zeng Jinjin rallied from a set down to win 2-1 (14-21, 21-17, 23-21) against Japan’s Takemi Nishibori and Ayumi Kusano in Pool F, where Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti and Panagiota Karagkouni also made a stunning tie-break upset on USA tandem Brooke Sweat and Kerri Walsh Jennings (21-13, 16-21, 15-10).

Top seeds Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar cruised to a straight-set win to lead their pool. Other pool leaders include the Czech Republic’s Michaela Kubickova and Michala Kvapilova, Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Khanitta Hongpak, Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth, Japan’s Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii and the United States’ Betsi Flint and Emily Day.


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