Top seeds on course at Satun Pak Bara Beach Volleyball Masters
After losing to the Iranian pair on Saturday in the preliminary pool plays, Julio/Ahmed Tijan came back strongly to overcome a tough challenge from the Kazakh team in the round of the last 16 teams on the second day of the four-day tournament. The top seeds are next scheduled to challenge Durant/Schubert, who stormed past Indonesia 2’s Gilang Ramadhan/Danangsyah Pribadi 2-1 (21-17, 15-21, 15-11).
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“We played really well today after bad form yesterday against Iran. It was a very tough match today but we are very happy to beat the Kazakhstan team as they are the tournament’s third seeds. We tried to play more aggressively on attacks and it worked well,” said Tijan
“This tournament is good for every team as it is a qualification tournament to accumulate points to qualify for the World Championships. Tomorrow we have to play our best again against the Australian team,” he added.
Despite the searing heat on the second day, thousands of spectators thronged into the competition venue to support their favourite teams.
In the other men’s competition, Australia 1’s Damien Schuman/Chris McHugh continued their unbeaten run to thrash Hong Kong’s Tsz Ho Kelvin/Pui Lam 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) in the round of 16 to next face New Zealand’s O’Dea Ben/O’Dea Sam, who beat Iran’s Abbas Pourasgari/Arash Vakili in straight sets 2-0 (21-19, 21-14) in the quarterfinals.
The hard-fought 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-11) win over the tall and towering Dmitriy Yakovlev/Alexey Kuleshov of Kazakhstan-2 earned Thailand-1’s Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawud a place in Monday morning’s quarterfinals, where they are scheduled to play Qataris Jefferson Santos Pereira/Cherif Younousse, who performed superbly to beat Japan’s Yoshiumi Hasegawa/Masato Kurasaka in straight sets 2-0 (21-13, 21-9) in the quarterfinals.
“I feel happy to get through to the quarterfinals. We didn’t start well in the first set. They put pressure on us on effective serves and we also committed so many unforced errors. Against Qatar tomorrow, we have to play a fast game as they are a very tall team. I teamed up with Sedtawat at the previous Asian Beach Games where we finished in fifth place. I would like to thank the Thai fans who came to cheer for us. Our goal is to finish among the top four teams,” said Nattanon after the match.
In the women’s event, Thailand 1’s Varapatsorn Radarong/ Tanarattha Udomchavee, silver medallists at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the Phuket Asian Beach Games the same year, lived up to the crowds’ expectations as they pulled off a sensational 2-0 (21-15, 21-9) victory over Hong Kong’s Tin Lai/Yuen Mei. The Thai pair will next face New Zealand 1's Julia Tilley/Alice Bain who beat compatriots Shaunna Polley/Julia Tilley 2-1 (12-21, 21-18, 15-11).
In the other women’s quarterfinal matches, Australia 1’s Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy powered past Khantarak Kija/Laosaengsa Ariya of Thailand 2 in straight sets 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) to next go up against last year’s runners-up Tatyana Mashkova/Bakhtygul Samalikova of Kazakhstan who eliminated Loti Joe/Linline Matauatu of Vanuatu in straight sets 2-0 (21-14, 21-15).
“The Thai girls played very well and they are the youngest girls we met on tour. They are very good with good service. It was really difficult for us to beat them. Congrats to them for playing a really good tournament. They are a very solid team. This tournament is really good. Thailand is always a great destination, a beautiful country and amazing crowds. I really enjoy playing here and hopefully we can go to the final round. There are so many strong teams in this tournament, but I think the Chinese and Japanese teams will be the toughest opponents,” said Bawden.
It was a shock match of the day when Japan 2’s Yukako Suzuki/Miki Ishii ousted Australian Phoebe Bell/Nicole Laird, who partnered Mariafe Artacho del Solar to claim the title last year, 2-1 (21-12, 18-21, 15-13).
“I don’t know what to say but it was a very good match. They are a very tough team. I feel very happy for this win. We have just teamed up and trained together for three months before coming here. I have a good time in Thailand. Thai people are very nice and the weather is great. Let’s see how far we can go in this tournament,” said Suzuki.