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Bawden and Clancy take second victory at Beach Volleyball World Champs

31 July 2017

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Australia’s Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy have stared down a major threat from China to post a second win at the 2017 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna, Austria.

The Rio 2016 Olympians found themselves one set down and trailling badly in the second set, and then again in the deciding set, before finally overwhelming China’s Xinxin Wang and Chen Xue 18-21, 21-19, 17-15.

“We had good faith in our team I think,” Bawden said.

“We know that if we keep sticking at it, we will create some opportunities. And we had to create a lot of opportunities before we could capitalise today and before we could get that kick on.

“I battled with the serving, it wasn’t easy to get the pass going the way we needed it to get some rhythm on our offence.

"T (Taliqua) hung really tough and was really aggressive at the net which won us a lot of clutch points.”

The Australians, fifth at last year’s Rio Olympics, beat fellow Australians Nicole Laird and Jessyka Ngauamo in the opening match on Friday. After losing the first set 19-21, they fought back against their fellow Aussies to take the next two sets 22-20, 15-7.

Clancy and Bawden are now looking good to progress to the next round of competition.

“I think we just tried to reinforce our game style,” Clancy said.

“We know that we will create pressure opportunities and we have to have faith in that and get back on track and push our game style.”

Laird and Ngauamo dropped their opening set 21-11 against USA’s April Ross and Lauren Fendrick in their second Pool game, but then fought back strongly in the second set before losing 21-18.

Australia's male team of Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann posted the only men’s seed-break-through win on Saturday as the Australians upset 14th-seeded Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Artem Yarzutkin of Russia.

Seeded 35th and playing in Pool K with Rio 2016 Olympic silver medal winners Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy, McHugh and Schumann posted a 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) win in 39 minutes over Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin, the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic gold medal winners.

"We know the Russians very well even though they are young," Schumann said.

"They beat Alison and Bruno (of Brazil) last week in Poland. They are very good so we are happy to get the win.

"It doesn’t get any easier with Italy next. We had a really close game with them in Russia (three-set win by Australia). Anything can happen any day you just have to go for it. We’ll rest and learn what we can from this game and try and tighten it up for the next game.”

McHugh said the win should make the Australians more relaxed.

"It was the first game for us, against Russia, it’s obviously a great venue here on the Danube," McHugh said.

"We’ve got a tough pool here, we’ve got Italy tomorrow, second in the Olympics. It’s always good to start with a win, it takes bit of the mental pressure off, and lets you free up a bit mentally."

Lupo and Nicolai, who will be challenged by the Australians on Monday, opened world championship play Saturday by posting a 2-0 (21-7, 21-8) win in 22 minutes over 38th-seeded African qualifiers Abubakarr Kamara/Patrick Lombie of Sierra Leone.

The Italians have played McHugh and Schumann once of the FIVB World Tour, with the Aussies winning a three-set elimination match over Lupo and Nicolai at the Moscow Open June 2.

Bawden and Clancy will now face Rio bronze medallists USA’s Ross and Fendrick at 6pm AEST tonight (Monday July 31), followed by Laird and Ngauamo taking on China's Wang and Xue at 7pm.

McHugh and Schumann will play their second Pool game at 11pm tonight when they face off against Italy's Olympic silver medallists Lupo and Nicolai.

Volleyball Australia

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