Qatar take on Indonesia in men’s final, China set up women’s showdown with Australia in Thailand
In the men’s semifinals, Candra/Asfiya, who beat Japan’s Takumi Takahashi/Katsuhiro Shiratori 2-0 (28-26, 21-15) in the quarterfinals, pulled off a stunning 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) win over the Qatari top seeds.
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“Today we had a good defense and effective blocks which led to our victory. I am very happy for this win and it is great to play in the final. Also, I would like to give credit to my partner for playing great volleyball,” said Candra.
“We have played Jefferson Santos Pereira/Cherif Younousse (their rivals in the final) before and the last time we played them at the Palembang Open we lost to them. They are a very good team, so we have brought out our game to beat them,” he added.
In the other men’s semifinal, Qatar 2’s Jefferson/Cherif, who defeated Thailand1’s Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawud in a one-sided battle 2-0 (21-8, 21-15) in the morning’s quarterfinals, continued their top form to beat Australia1’s Chris McHugh/Damien Schumann 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 15-8).
“It is always a very tough match against Australia. They played a very good match. We started a little bit nervous and committed some easy mistakes. But we learned from the mistakes we made in the first set and we tried to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Things then got better and better after that. It was a very good match and I really enjoyed it,” said Jefferson.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will play the Indonesian team. I think it is going to be a very tough game. We need to play better than today if we want to be the champions. This tournament is really good. The weather here is quite hot, but I like playing here,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the women’s semifinals, Fan Wang/Yuan Yue of China, who dispatched compatriots Xue Chen/Xia Xinyi 2-1 (21-16, 18-21, 15-9) in the round of the last eight teams, overcame a tough challenge from home favourites Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee in an epic 57-minute hard-fought battle 2-1 (21-15, 15-21, 22-20).
“I feel very happy to advance to the finals. The Thai team are very strong with good defense and offense. It was very difficult for us to beat them. This is my fourth time in Satun. I have trained with my partner five months before playing here. This tournament is great with amazing crowds. We will try our best to win this tournament,” said Wang.
With the loss, the Thai pairing will take on Japanese pair Yukako Suzuki/Miki Ishii for the bronze medal.
“It was a really tough loss, but we were quite satisfied with our performance. In the first set, we played freely as we had nothing to lose, while the Chinese team played with the pressure. We had a chance to win but suddenly they just came out with powerful serves to put pressure on us in the third set. Congrats to them for playing well. We have trained hard since the beginning of the year to prepare our mental and physical fitness before this tournament. I would like to thank the Satun people who cheered for us. We will try our best to get the bronze medal tomorrow,” said Tanaratta.
The other semifinal clash saw Australians Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, who eliminated last year’s runners-up Tatyana Mashkova/Bakhtygul Samalikova of Kazakhstan 2-0 (21-14, 21-8) in the quarterfinals, defeat Suzuki/Ishii in straight sets.
“Japan are a very good team. They finished top at their pool. They played very well and we knew today would be a very tough match. But we got better and better in every game we played and we hope we can keep it going to the finals. Hopefully, we will finish on top of the tournament,” said Bawden.
The event continues on Tuesday, the final day of the tournament. Bronze medal matches and final showdowns in both the men’s and the women’s events will be contested in the afternoon, followed by the awards presentation and the closing ceremony.