Xiamen, China, April 17, 2016 – Fifth seeds Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland swept Austrian dark horses Barbara Hansel and Stefanie Schwaiger 2-0 in the women’s final of Xiamen Open here Sunday afternoon to win their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal.
Following a bronze medal finish last year in Xiamen, Forrer/Vergé-Dépré reached the top of the podium this time with the 21-17 and 21-14 victory in 31 minutes over the 29th seeded Austrian qualifiers, 2-1 upset winners over top seeds Kerri Walsh and April Ross of the United States in the semifinals.
“We finished third here last year and finishing even better is a wonderful feeling,” said the 34-year-old Forrer, who finally got the touch of gold in the World Tour in her 16th World Tour season, and her next dream is to play at the Rio Olympic Games in August.
“We want to go to the Olympics. Now we made good points here, step by step we are getting closer to this big door. If we go there, of course we want to play well there too.”
After outlasting Germany’s 15th seeds Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude 2-1 (21-18, 16-21, 15-13) in Sunday morning’s semifinals, Forrer/Vergé-Dépré showed their dominance in the final match. “We knew in the semifinal we didn't play our best and we didn't want that happen again,” said Forrer. “We tried to serve better, play better and managed to stay calm and focused.”
Vergé-Dépré attributed the victory to better game rhythm. “We just had better game rhythm, they were not serving as tough as the other girls in the semifinal, so it was easier for us to keep our rhythm in the game and side out and serve much better than in the semifinal,” she said.
Hansel/Schwaiger narrowly missed the chance to become the first Austrian tandem to win a gold medal in the World Tour, but they could be satisfied after upsetting Walsh/Ross on back of a strong serving game to reach their first World Tour final together.
“We are very glad with the second place. We did not play to our best in the final, but we started from the qualifications and we had a lot of three sets. We were quite tired and our service didn’t go so well any more, but we are glad we are in the final and we got the second place. We did everything for this and it's nice to be there,” said Schwaiger.
Walsh/Ross, who had captured a gold and a silver in the season-opening Rio Grand Slam and Vitoria Open in Brazil, recovered soon enough to beat Germany’s Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude 2-0 (24-22, 21-15) in the bronze medal match Sunday afternoon for their third podium finish in a row.
“This morning was really crushing, I think we got aced almost ten times, the most of them were on me, but we still could have won against them,” said Walsh. “If we focused on the fundamentals, then we should have won that match, but Austria played amazing and I'm excited that they are in the final, and I am so happy that we bounced back. We didn't let that defeat us this morning.”
“It was so frustrating. I'm proud of myself for being able to do the basics, and so having a match like that hurts my heart, because that's what I focus on most, but I learned and I think the sign of a great team is that they come back from a tough loss,” Walsh added. “You know we are here to win gold. Austria beat us, they deserved it more than us, and we came back and win bronze. We were playing teams that we never played before, so we were figuring that out and we were figuring ourselves out and that's great.”
With the double-gender Xiamen Open lowering its curtain, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will continue in Fuzhou next week.
• Xiamen Open - Women