ABCs of beach volleyball dominate Zhongwei Open play

Zhongwei, China, September 14, 2019 - Teams from America, Brazil and China captured pools here Friday during the opening rounds of three days of FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour competition at the $25,000 Zhongwei Open.

The teams of eighth-seeded Brittany Howard/Kelly Reeves (Pool E), 13th-seeded Lara Dykstra/Kendra VanZwieten (Pool A) and 16th-seeded Jessica Gaffney/Corinne Quiggle (Pool D) each won two matches to lead the United States effort in the third women's event on the 2018-2019 FIVB World Tour calendar.

Pacing host China were 18th-seeded Jingzhe Wang/Shuhui Wen after the due won Pool F with two wins over compatriots in the second women's event in the qualifying process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.  

Winning one to secure group crowns as expected were the veteran beach volleyball teams of second-seeded Elize Maia/Maria Clara Salgado of Brazil (Pool B) and third-seeded Fan Wang/Chen Xue of China. The combined FIVB experience for Maia (38 events), Salgado (155), Fan Wang (82) and Xue (125) is 400 World Tour appearances.

The combined experience level of the other eight players that won pools Friday is 44 as Gaffney, Quiggle and Jingzhe Wang are playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event, Howard her second, Wen her third, Reeves her fourth and Dykstra her sixth.

Saturday's schedule will feature two rounds of elimination play to set Sunday's final four schedule where the winning team will split the $4,000 first-place prize in the 11th two-star FIVB event since the World Tour started using the star system for tournaments in 2017.

Wen will be seeking her second two-star gold medal as she teamed with Xinyi Xia to win the 2017 Nantong Open in China. Xinyi Xia is playing this weekend with Xinxin Wang at the Zhongwei Open as the top-seeded team. Xia and Xinxin were defeated by Dykstra and VanZwieten 2-1 (18-21, 26-24, 15-8) in the 47-minute Pool A finale.

Here is Saturday's opening elimination schedule:

Lara Dykstra/Kendra VanZwieten, United States (No. 13-seeded team) vs. Chunxia Chen/Yuanyuan LV, China (17)      
Meimei Lin/Lingdi Zhu, China (14) vs. Bing Bai/Lvwen Yuan, China (6)      
Jagoda Gruszczynska/Aleksandra Wachowicz, Poland (5) vs. Jessica Gaffney/Corinne Quiggle, United States (16)      
Agata Ceynowa/Martyna Kloda, Poland (11) vs. Jingzhe Wang/Shuhui, Wen China (18)      
Fan Wang/Chen Xue, China (3) vs. Brittany Kendall/Nicole Laird, Australia (9)      
Brittany Howard/Kelly Reeves, United States (8) vs. Xinxin Wang/Xinyi Xia, China (1)      
Marta Duda/Marta Lodej, Poland (15) vs. Shuting Cao/Jinjin Zeng, China (4)      
Sara Olivova/Karolina Rehackova, Czech Republic (7) vs. Elize Maia/Maria Clara Salgado, Brazil (2)


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