Xiamen, China, September 26, 2015 – Seventh-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich from Switzerland upset China's top seeds Wang Fan/Yue Yuan 2-1 (21-15, 14-21, 15-12) on Saturday to reach the women's semifinals of the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball Xiamen Open.
Joining Zumkehr/Heidrich in Sunday's semis are fellow Swiss pair Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré, Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler from Germany and Argentina's Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug.
In their quarterfinal against Wang/Yue, Zumkehr/Heidrich came out strongly with a couple of points down to Heidrich's skill at the net. With the home crowds on hand, Wang/Yue were visibly stronger in the second set and soon pulled it back to take the match into a tie-break.
The third set began with a see-saw battle as both teams fought hard for every point. Unfazed by the Chinese support from the stands, Zumkehr/Heidrich grabbed the upper hand after 8-8. With 14-11 up, the Swiss pair closed it out on their second match point.
"It was a very tough match. We know the Chinese pair play very well, and in front of home crowds, they had a lot of support. So I'm really happy we won it," said Heidrich. "In the second set China served really, really well, some serves you really can't do a lot about it. But we managed to stay calm and to get the serves we could. After the second set, we stayed calm. That's the key to our success."
Yue, the silver medalist at last year's Xiamen Open, admitted that playing in front of home crowds put her under a lot of pressure.
"I don't want to let the home fans down, so I was under pressure throughout the match. It somehow had a negative impact on our game," said Yue.
Prior to Zumkehr/Heidrich's victories, their fellow countrywomen Forrer/Vergé-Dépré swept past Germany's Victoria Bieneck/Julia Großner 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) in the quickest match of the day in 31 minutes.
"I'm really happy to make into our second semifinal," said Vergé-Dépré, who finished 2nd in the Sochi Open earlier this month. "Actually, we wanted to get the fifth place. That's what we did it today. I'm happy that tomorrow we can play again. There are new chances."
Gallay/Klug has entered their first FIVB final four after beating fourth seeds Evgenia Ukolova/Ekaterina Birlova 2-0 (22-20, 29-27) in a tightly fought contest.
After a first set that was going in the direction of Gallay/Klug, Ukolova/Birlova stepped up the pace in the second, but the Argentinean pair remained focused to pull off the upset win over the higher seeded Russians.
Second-seeded Holtwick/Semmler also survived a tough quarterfinal battle, downing Olaya Perez Pazo/Norisbeth Isais Agudo Gonzalez 2-1 (21-13, 17-21, 15-12).
The double-gender $150,000 FIVB Xiamen Open is the final point's event on the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball calendar. The event is being held at the Guanyinshan Gold Beach in the Siming District of the Fujian Province. The winning teams in each gender will share the $11,000 first-place prize.