Bangsaen, Thailand, October 25, 2012 – While Japan’s newcomers Sayaka Mizoe and Anjiera Ishida upset top seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, Brazil’s only team in Bangsaen had an excellent start on day one of the main draw of the Bangsaen Thailand Open, powered by PTT.
Japan's Sayaka Mizoe (left) and Anjiera Ishida upset top seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler
Fifth seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas won both their matches 2-0 and might be outsiders for the title. ’’We are a new team, so in a way we could be the dark horse here’’, Seixas said. ’’Many teams are filming us, because they never seen us play before. And we want to be on the podium for sure’’, Agatha added.
The 29-year-old player from Rio started her World Tour career in 2005 with beach volleyball legend Sandra Pires. She and 25-year-old Seixas, a former youth (2005) and junior world champion (2006 and 2007), only started playing together this year.
They were condemned to play country quota at almost every event due to the large number of good Brazilian teams on the tour. But they moved up quickly, their best result since then 5th place in Gstaad in July.
From zero to perfect
"We started out with zero points, as the last team for Brazil in the country quota. But we improved a lot. Now, here in Thailand, we started in main draw directly and to finish the day 2-0 is perfect," Seixas said after their wins over Colombia’s Andrea and Claudia Galindo (21-11 22-20) and Canada’s Jamie Lynn Broder and Kristina Valjas (22-20 21-11). Agatha: "We really want to enjoy the opportunity now that a lot of top teams, like Juliana and Larissa, are not here."
Germany’s Holtwick and Semmler, who was affected by a stomach flu, are one of the obvious contenders for the Bangsaen title, but they tripped over qualifiers Mizoe and Ishida, who made her debut on the World Tour. Japan won the first set, lost the second, but came back strong in the tiebreak, winning 21-16 17-21 15-12.
"This is awesome," said tall blocker Ishida, who is half Japanese, half American. "I did not think I could win on my first World Tour. This is so different from the Japanese or Asian Tour, the level of the players is much higher. But we talked a lot to each other and stayed in touch during the whole game and that is the secret I think.’" In their first match the Japanese had already defeated Swiss Joana Heidrich and Nina Betschart.
Holtwick and Semmler, who needed three sets to overcome Thailand’s wild card team Rumpaipruet Numwong and Khanittha Hongpak in their first match, will continue in the loser’s bracket on Friday.
Two time Thailand Open champions and second seeded Jennifer Kessy and April Ross finished the day with two straight wins. Third seeded Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova from Russia also reached third round, but lost one set on their way.
Host country Thailand
Host country Thailand still has two teams in the tournament, Jarunee Sannok/Usa Tenpaksee and Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee, but unfortunately they play each other in the loser’s bracket on Friday.
Matches start at 9.00 on Friday with two rounds in main draw and three in the loser’s bracket. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, followed by the bronze medal match and final on Sunday.
The winners of the $190,000 Bangsaen Thailand Open, powered by PTT, will share $30,000. The silver medallists split $21,000 and the bronze medallists $15,000.
In six previous editions, the USA won nine medals, China claimed four, Italy two and Germany, Russia and Brazil each won one medal.