Fuzhou, China, April 23, 2015 – Canada’s Jamie Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas earn themselves two wins on the first day of women’s pool play at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Fuzhou Open 2015. The first FIVB tournament of the season also opens the Olympic qualification window for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
In its third consecutive year, the FIVB Fuzhou Open is the first double-gender FIVB Open event of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar with a prize purse of $150,000.
It was a great opening day of main draw play for Canadians Broder/Valjas. Their first match saw a win against Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) before they met Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu from Vanuatu in the afternoon. Anticipating 2015 season
The Fuzhou Open has enjoyed some favourable beach volleyball conditions so far with overcast skies, but warm temperatures, a distinct change from the Canadian winter. Broder/Valjas’ were more than ready to get the season underway and their victory against Thailand set up their confidence against Pata/Matauatu.
The Vanuatu pair came out strongly at the beginning of the match sending Broder/Valjas to every part of the court. The Canadians then calmed into the match, but the two teams continued to appear relatively even.
Broder/Valjas were more confident in the second set and settled into their rhythm taking the lead. Pata/Matauatu did not give away anything easily, but the Canadians remained focused and ended the match 2-0 (24-22, 21-17).
“We’re pretty happy to come away with two wins today, it’s our first event of the season so we always want to come out strong and we’re so excited to be competing again so it was really nice to get out there and finish with two wins,” said Broder.
“We came out very strong this morning. We have been preparing for a couple of days here in China and we wanted to come out aggressively, that’s our game and I think we executed pretty well. Today we were under a lot of service pressure so to put ourselves up in a good spot to set each other up for some hits. I think we did a good job with fending off their serves and I feel really good about it, we fought through the pressure,” said Valjas.
“This match was a little bit tougher than the one this morning. I think also for us it was just playing one point at a time and not letting the whole match take over too much. Keep setting between each play and just staying confident and believing each other so we just reset and stayed calm and knew that we could execute in the end if we just did that.
“We’ve been working really hard in the off season, in Toronto we train indoors usually during the winter so we haven’t had a lot of experience outside yet. We did a training camp in California for two weeks just before coming here which was really great because we got exposed to some of the competition that’s here on tour and really we’re just excited to be competing. We feel very healthy and fresh and rejuvenated from last season,” said Broder.
In their final pool match on April 24, Broder/Valjas will play Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat from USA.
“We’re feeling good about tomorrow, they’re our rivals, I think they’ve beaten us once before and we’ve beaten them so it’ll be interesting to see what happens, we’re ready to play,” said Valjas.
“I think it’ll be a really fun match, they’re a great pair, we’re friends with them off the court, they are really nice girls so it’ll be competitive and I think it’ll be a lot of fun because they’re a strong team,” said Broder.Bawden/Clancy on right track
Australia’s Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy end the first day of the main draw top of their pool after beating Barbara Hansel/Stefanie Schwaiger from Austria 2-0 (21-17, 21-16). The match began quite evenly but as Bawden pounced on every great set from Clancy the Australians secured the first set.
Schwaiger placed consistently high quality balls straight down the line and put pressure on Bawden/Clancy in the second, but the Australians kept their heads for their second win in Pool E.
“We’re really pleased with the way that we stuck together as a team. I think we worked really hard, brought good communication and were prepared to stay patient. We kept bringing the energy which made for a good finish for us for today,” said Bawden.
“I completely agree, I thought our teamwork was really good, they definitely are both two very experienced players, for me anyway not being on the tour as much as them - so it was really good. Our teamwork and the energy that we brought meant we stayed very clear on how we want to play our game style - so I think it’s looking good. I’m happy, a successful first day,” said Clancy.
In their first pool match Bawden/Clancy faced Brazil’s Liliane Maestrini and Carolina Horta Maximo. In one of the tightest matches of the day, Australia held on to beat Lili/Carol Maximo 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-12).
“This morning was definitely a little bit nervy, we’ve worked really hard over the Australian summer and T and I are putting high expectations on what we want to go and achieve and so it was definitely a moment in terms of coming out and playing the first game, but actually as a team it’s the first time that we’ve beaten a team from Brazil so that’s a nice achievement for us and hopefully the first of many,” said Bawden.
2013 Fuzhou Open champion, China’s Chen Xue was forced to pull out of her second pool match due to a shoulder injury.
The Fuzhou Open is held at the purpose built venue in the city’s Mianjiang Riverside Park. China has hosted a total of 49 FIVB World Tour events and the second Chinese stop on the 2015 calendar will be the double-gender event FIVB Xiamen Open scheduled for September 22 to 27.
The gold medal teams in each gender at the FIVB Fuzhou Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The men’s medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.