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Tian/Wang continue history-making for China's beach volleyball
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China's Tian Jia/Wang Jie continued their creation of history for China's Olympic record in beach volleyball on Sunday, overcoming their rivals in a quarterfinal.

China's best finish at the Olympics was ninth place, achieved by Tian and her then partner Wang Fei at the Athens Games.

In Sunday's match, the Chinese players easily beat an Austrian pair in straight sets. Both sets ended 21-12.

The Chinese tandem dominated the match with strong serves and attacks, leaving the Austrian pair Doris Schwaiger/Stephanie Schwaiger no resistance most of the time.

"We played to our normal standard, and we didn't carry a burden today. We didn't think about anything, winning or losing," 1.87-meter-tall Wang said after the match.

The Austrian sisters said they didn't play well in the match as they had expected.

"Two days ago we served much better to the German team, and I suppose it is disappointing that we could not do the same here today," said Doris.

"I want to congratulate the Chinese team. They're very good and I hope they win a medal," she said.

The Austrian pair, who finished second in the preliminary round, eliminated Germany's Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller, a much higher-seeded pair, in their round of 16 encounter on Friday.

"We didn't expect them to go so far. They were certainly the biggest dark horse in this tournament. But they didn't play their best today," China's Tian said on the performance of the Austrians.

To their semifinal, the two Chinese said they didn't care about the result and would just focus on the match.

"We've already achieved beyond our goal since we entered the quarterfinals. For the next matches, we'll try to take hold of every match and try our best," Wang told a press conference.

In the semifinal on Aug. 19, they are to take on the winner of the quarterfinal between Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs of the United States and China's Zhang Xi/Xue Chen.

Tian and Wang said they had learned a lot from their experiences in the preliminary round, where they remained unbeaten but sometimes had to come from behind to win the match finally.

"We didn't play well in the preliminary round, which was big help for us," Wang said.

"The difficulties we experienced gave us a lesson that we should put us in a low position and treat every rival as the best team," she explained.

"With this mental state, we don't get muddleheaded when we are in disadvantage. We just act quickly to adjust our psychology and strategy," she said.

While Tian is for the third time at the Olympics, Wang is taking part for the first time.

They remained unbeaten in the preliminary round. In their round of 16 match, Tian/Wang beat Norwegian opponents Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen in two straight sets 21-13, 21-15.

The Chinese duo had won three FIVB World Tour gold medals and placed second on the Beijing Olympics qualification rankings.

In another women's quarterfinal, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States, also defending champions, won easily over Ana Paula Connelly and Larissa Franca of Brazil in straight sets of 21-18 and 21-15.

So far the American duo have lost no set at the Beijing Olympics.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2008)

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