Xiamen, China, April 24, 2019 – Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan are aiming for a fourth World Championships in Hamburg this year and are heading in the right direction, completing the opening day in Xiamen with two wins.
Liliana/Elsa faced China’s Jiang Li and Zhao Huimin in their opening qualification match in Xiamen, winning 2-0 (21-8, 21-12), before defeating Vasiliki Arvaniti and Panagiota Karagkouni from Greece, 2-0 (24-22, 21-14).
“We had a pre-season preparation for this for four months in the Canary Islands, Tenerife. Our coach lives there, I live there. Elsa lives in Madrid, but comes to Tenerife because a lot of European teams come to the island for training and it’s a good preparation,” said Liliana.
The team has competed in two Olympic Games, London 2012 and Rio 2016 and appeared at the FIVB World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015, reaching ninth at every single one.
“Our focus is on the World Championships, I think it’s a great tournament this year, it gives you a lot of points and Olympic points – the winner goes to the Olympic Games so that’s a motivation, but it’s always a big thing for us to play the world champs,” said Elsa.
“I think we can make it great, we have always qualified and I think we can reach quarters or fight for the medals, why not, we are ready,” said Liliana.
Liliana and Elsa are one of the few long-term pairs on tour that have stuck together throughout their career, which began in 2007 at the Junior World Championships where they reached the final four. Their only break came in 2017, when Liliana took the year off to have a baby.
“I think it helps a lot because she knows what I think and when I’m struggling, she knows, I don’t need to say a word and I think we know how to help each other. We know what to say and what not to say so I think it’s something positive,” said Liliana.