Indonesia face Iran in men’s final, China and Australia set up final rematch at Songkhla
Songkhla, Thailand, April 16, 2017 – Indonesians Ade Candra Rachmawan/Mohammad Ashfiya stunned top seeds Chris McHugh /Damien Schumann in straight sets to advance to the men’s final, while Australians Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy set up a rematch of last week’s Pak Bara Master final with Chinese Wang Fan/Yue Yuan in women’s final of the SMM 18th Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships at Samila Beach.
In the men’s semifinals on Sunday, the Indonesian men advanced to the final twice in a row in Thailand. Candra/Asfiya made it to the final of the Pak Bara Master in Satun, but were beaten by Qatar’s Jefferson Perreira and Cherif Younousse.
Candra/Asfiya won 2-1 (21-17, 7-21, 15-13) their quarterfinal match-up with Jefferson/Younousse at Songkhla this time. The Indonesian pair then eliminated the top seeded Australians 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in the semifinals to face Iranians Rahman Raoufi/Bahman Salemi Injehboroun.
“Iran are very strong, but I believe in my team,” the Indonesian coach said. “They have been playing very well in this tournament. They have determination to win. I will give them some strategies when they Iran in the final tomorrow.”
Iran’s Raoufi/Salemi defeated China’s Ha Likejiang/Bao Jian in the quarterfinals 2-0 (21-11, 21-15), then switched to a higher gear when they beat Qatar’s Julio Nascimento/Ahmed Tijan 2-1 (27-29, 22-20, 15-10) in the semifinals.
“I would like to thank the Thai supporters who cheered for us to make a comeback in the second and third sets,” Raoufi said. “The people here are very kind and friendly. Whenever I play in Thailand, I always finished in the top three.
“Tomorrow is going to be a very tough match because Indonesia are at very strong team. We will go back to get some rest and be ready for the big fight.”
Australians Chris McHugh/Damien Schumann will take on Julio/Ahmed in the bronze medal match.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, who trounced Polley/Wills of New Zealand 2-0 (21-10, 21-10) in the quarterfinals, proved too strong for their compatriots Phoebe Bell/Nicole Laird as they notched a 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) win in the semifinals.
“We felt a little bit nervous that we played against two country fellows in this round,” Clancy said. “It was very difficult to play them today, but we stayed focused and we intimidated them with the serves and second ball attacks.”
Bawden/Clancy now look forward to avenge their Pak Bara Master loss to China’s Wang Fan/Yue Yuan.
“I think we have a chance against China tomorrow,” Clancy said. “We have been training hard this week. We have to bring our best and play aggressive games. We have to concentrate what we are preparing to do and enjoy the opportunity to play for the gold medal. Hopefully we will finish on top of the podium.”
The Chinese pair, on the other hand, overcame a strong challenge from Indonesian duo Dhita Juliana/Putu Utami 2-0 (21-16, 21-18).
Dhita Juliana/Putu Utami will play Bell/Laird of Australia in the bronze medal match.
The four-day tournament will conclude on Monday, April 17. The bronze and gold medal matches in the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place in the afternoon, followed by the awarding and closing ceremonies.