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Iranian wild cards shoot up to Babolsar quarterfinals

Iranian wild cards Aghajani and Pourasgari celebrate a point against one of their Kazakhstani rivals on Wednesday
Babolsar, Iran, October 10, 2018 – One Slovenian and three Iranian teams progressed directly to the quarterfinals of the Babolsar one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour by winning their pools as main draw action got underway on Wednesday.

Iranian wild cards Alireza Aghajanighasab and Abbas Pourasgari, seeded 12th, were the lowest ranked team that managed to score two wins. Aghajani and Pourasgari shut out two Kazakhstani pairs – fifth-seeded Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko by 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) and fourth-seeded Sergey Bogatu and Dmitriy Yakovlev by 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) - to top their Pool D.

Slovenia’s Danijel Pokersnik and Gasper Plahutnik, seeded sixth, were the other duo that managed to upset a higher-ranked opponent on the way to the quarterfinals and the only foreign team to win their pool. The Slovenians started their Pool C campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13) victory over Iran’s Aghamohammad Salagh and Mohammad Sadeghi Malati before upsetting third-seeded Poles Kacper Kujawiak and Mateusz Paszkowski with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) shutout.

The Iranian favourites, seeded first and second in the main draw bracket, finalists at last week’s Bandar Torkaman World Tour event on the Caspian Sea Series, topped the other two pools to skip the first elimination round on Thursday. In Pool A, Bandar Torkaman champions Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Arash Vakili mastered a 2-0 (21-5, 21-15) victory over bottom-seeded compatriots Seyedarshia Akbari Noudehi and Amir Malmir, and followed up with a tough 2-1 (20-22, 21-16, 15-10) win over Thailand’s Narongdet Kangkon and Dunwinit Kaewsai. Second-seeded Rahman Raoufi and Abolhamed Mirzaali emerged victorious from Pool B with two straight-setters - 2-0 (21-13, 21-9) over Cote d’Ivoire’s Komenan Jose Alexa and Sess Aime Melesse and 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) over Kazakhstan’s Alexey Kuleshov and Artem Petrossyants.

Finishing second or third in their pools with one victory and one defeat on their records, three teams from Kazakhstan, two from Thailand, and one each from Poland, the Czech Republic and Iran will play in the first elimination round on Thursday morning for the four remaining vacancies in the quarters.

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