China broke through at the world beach volleyball championships as Xue Chen and Zhang Xi became the first women’s pair from a country other than Brazil or the U.S. to win gold.
Xue and Zhang, the 2008 Olympic and 2011 world bronze medalists, beat Germany’s Karla Borger and Britta Buthe 18-21, 21-17, 21-19, winning on their sixth match point in the gold-medal match in Stare Jablonki, Poland, on Saturday.
“It is my dream,” Zhang said. “I’m dreaming. I’m so excited.”
Earlier Saturday, Americans April Ross and Whitney Pavlik lost the bronze-medal match to Brazilians Lili and Barbara 21-18, 21-15.
Ross and Pavlik’s loss means the U.S. will walk away from worlds with no medals for the first time since 2001. Ross now joins a new partner, three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings. They could debut at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Calif., from July 22-28, broadcast on NBC, NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports.
The men’s semifinals and finals are Sunday, when Brazilians Ricardo and Emanuel look to defend their title. NBC will have coverage from 2-3:30 p.m. ET.