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Kazakhstani team upset top seeds on way to Babolsar semis

Dyachenko trying to block a spike by Vakili
Babolsar, Iran, October 11, 2018 – Two pairs from Iran and one each from Slovenia and Kazakhstan advanced to Friday’s semifinals of the Babolsar one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Kazakhstan’s Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko were the only team, who won two matches on Thursday on the way to the semis. In the first elimination round, the fifth-seeded pair managed a hard-fought 2-1 (21-16, 22-24, 15-7) victory over compatriots Alexey Kuleshov and Artem Petrossyants. In the quarterfinals Sidorenko and Dyachenko delivered a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) upset of top-seeded Iranians Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Arash Vakili, last week’s winners at Bandar Torkaman.

Iranian wild cards Alireza Aghajanighasab and Abbas Pourasgari, seeded 12th, who had qualified directly to the quarterfinals, went on to advance to the semis. They lost the first set against their third-seeded opponents Kacper Kujawiak and Mateusz Paszkowski of Poland 21-23, levelled the match after 21-19 in the second and were in the lead during the decider when the Poles forfeited because of an injury.

In another three-set quarterfinal, Slovenia’s Danijel Pokersnik and Gasper Plahutnik, seeded sixth, emerged with a 2-1 (26-28, 21-18, 15-11) victory over fourth-seeded Kazakhs Sergey Bogatu and Dmitriy Yakovlev after a battle that lasted more than an hour.

On Thursday afternoon, second-seeded Rahman Raoufi and Abolhamed Mirzaali were the first to secure a spot in the semifinals. In an all-Iranian clash with Aghamohammad Salagh and Mohammad Sadeghi Malati, Raoufi and Mirzaali mastered a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) shutout.

In the first semifinal, at 09:00 local time on Friday, Raoufi and Mirzaali will face Slovenia’s Pokersnik and Plahutnik. An hour later, at 10:00, the semifinal clash between Iran’s Aghajani and Pourasgari and Kazakhstan’s Sidorenko and Dyachenko will get underway. The bronze medal match and the big final for the Babolsar title will take place on Friday afternoon.

Remember that you can watch the finals on the FIVB's YouTube channel here.

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