LONDON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese duo Xue Chen/Zhang Xi finally found their winning rhythm and hammerd Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland in three sets here on Monday to gain their first win at the women's beach volleyball preliminaries at the 2012 London Olympics.
As the second seed of the tournament, Xue and Zhang had been expected to top the pool B with ease, but suffered a shocking 1-2 loss to Russian pair Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova in the opener last Saturday.
They bounced back from the surprise defeat and clawed back their hope to advance into the last 16 with a 21-18, 16-21 and 15-8 victory over Kuhn/Zumkehr.
The Swiss duo, who claimed the FIVB Rome Grand Slam title in June, started strongly by racing to a 11-7 lead in the opening set and maintained it to 15-12. But Xue/Zhang, the Beijing Games bronze medallists, fought back hard to tie the scoreboard at 18-all and finished the set at 21-18 with three points in a row.
Swiss came back in the second set with improved serving and jumped to a 14-11 lead with two aces. China managed to stay within 15-18 thanks to a smart play of Zhang, but Kuhn and Zumkehr ran off three of last four points to level it back at 21-16.
In the deciding third set, Xue and Zhang fought back their trademark offense as Xue prevailed with great hitting efficiency. Jumping to an early 6-3 lead, the Chinese women cruised to the victory of the match at 15-8 with an amazing 6-1 run, Zhang contributed five of the China's last six points.
Xue and Zhang will play Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece on Thursday in their third group match which is considered a one-side competition.
Arvaniti and Tsiatsiani were the 16th and final team to qualify for the London Olympics through the Olympic rankings.
Earlier on Monday, Hana Klapalova/Lenka Hajeckova from the Czech Republic also marked their first pool win by defeating Natacha Rigobert/Elodie Li Yuk Lo of Mauritius 21-10 and 21-11.