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Beach Volleyball: China’s Wang, Yuan finish fourth at Berlin Grand Slam

The 1.88-metre Wang Fan spikes against Britta Buthe in the third-place playoff at the Berlin Grand Slam. Photos: FIVB.

The 1.88-metre Wang Fan spikes against Britta Buthe in the third-place playoff at the Berlin Grand Slam. Photos: FIVB.

June 23, 2014: Yuan Yue and towering youngster Wang Fan consolidated their fast-growing reputation with a fourth-place finish at the Berlin Grand Slam after losing 21-10, 21-19 to local stars Karla Borger and Britta Buthe in the third-place playoff on Sunday.

 

Yuan, 26, and the six-foot two-inch Wang, 20, picked up a silver at the season-opening Shanghai Grand Slam last month as they bid to join compatriots Chen Xue and teenager Xia Xinyi as regular contenders on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

 

Wang and Yue were well beaten in the first set against Borger and Buthe, who enjoyed the huge support of the centre-court crowd. However, the Chinese pair rallied to come back to 19-19 in the second set before the Germans stayed calm and finished the match on their first match point.

 

It was only the German pair’s second FIVB medal after they won silver at last year’s World Championships in Poland, where they lost to Chen and her former partner Zhang Xi.

 

Buthe said: “The Chinese gave up relatively early in the first set, but it got close in the second. It makes us really proud to go home with a bronze medal that we won in our favourite city and that our family, friends and fans came out to the centre court all week to support us.”

 

Borger added: “It was a great match. We had a lot of fun. In the end there were a lot of people watching and that gave us wings. Against the Chinese we have a lot of close games before and that motivated us to win.”

 

Wang Fan watches as Yuan Yue digs in during the semi-final loss to Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova.

Wang watches as Yuan digs in during the semi-final loss to Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova.

In the semi-finals, Wang and Yuan lost 21-15, 21-17 to eventual champions Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic.

 

Earlier in the week, the Chinese pair won all three of their Pool A matches before beating Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg and then Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bowden in the knockout rounds to reach the final four for the second time in three Grand Slams.

 

Wang and Yuan played together in 2012, but competed with different partners in 2013. The Berlin Grand Slam marked their 11th World Tour tournament together.

 

Chen and Xue won their opening Pool E match in Berlin, but withdrew through injury.

 

Source: FIVB (www.fivb.org); Editing by SportAsia

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