For the second-straight day on the Victory Park centre court, Beach Volleyball teams from China and the United States will compete for a SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal after both countries won afternoon semi-final matches here Sunday at the US$600,000 Moscow 2008 Grand Slam.
Chinese celebration for Linyin Xu (left) and Penggen Wu, FOto: FiVB
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Saturday afternoon, China bested the United States for the womens Moscow 2008 Grand Slam title as Chen Xue and Xi Zhang defeated Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs 21-8 and 21-18. The Asian country also won the bronze medal with Jia Tian and Jie Wang defeating Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil 21-16 and 23-21.
The Moscow 2008 Grand Slam mens finale will feature top-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of the United States against fourth-seeded Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu of China after both teams defeated pairs from Germany in three sets to earn spots on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour podium at Victory Park where the gold medal team will share the $43,500 first-place prize.
With both teams perfect for six matches this week at the Moscow 2008 Grand Slam, Dalhausser and Rogers advanced to the finals with a 21-14, 18-21 and 15-11 win in 57 minutes over third-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann. It was Dalhausser and Rogers 20th-straight win on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since lost in Berlin three weeks ago.
Wu and Xu, who are competing in their fourth SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match this season like the Americans, earned a berth in the finale with a 21-19, 25-27 and 15-13 win over fifth-seeded David Klemperer and Eric Koreng .
While Dalhausser and Rogers are seeking their fifth SWATCH FIVB World Tour title after winning the last two Grand Slam events in Paris and Norway, Wu and Xu will be seeking Chinas first-ever mens gold medal on the international circuit after losing finales this season in Australia, China and Croatia.
Dalhausser and Rogers have won the previous four SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches against the Chinese, including a quarter-final win last week in Stavanger when the Americans became the first mens team from their country to win back-to-back international titles since 1992 when the legendary pair of Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos accomplished the feat.
With both teams qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the Chineses semi-final win Sunday earned Wu and Xu the No. 6 spot on the Summer Games ranking list. If Wu and Xu finish among the top six Beijing qualifying teams for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since May 2007, the host country tandem will be granted the top spot in Olympic pool play seeding.
Wu and Xu have 4,560 points for their best eight SWATCH placements during the qualifying period. With a 1,000 points for winning the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World championship title in Switzerland last July along with 2,320 points the last three weeks at FIVB Grand Slam stops, Dalhausser and Rogers lead the ranking list with 5,700 points.
The qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympics ends for all SWATCH FIVB World Tour players in France July 15-20 at Marseille. European players can also earn qualifying points from one of their two finishes at the 2007 or 2008 continental championships. Germany hosts this years European championships this cming week in Hamburg (July 10-13).