Hughes and Ross earn qualification spot in Thailand
The two country quota matches in the beautiful seaside town of Bangsaen were the first they ever played together, both competing with different partners on the World Tour so far.
Hughes (26) and Ross (19) first eliminated Sara Hughes and Kaitlin Sather 21-16 21-18. The duo then moved on to center court at the Laem Than Pier to meet up with Brooke Sweat and Jennifer Fopma, who defeated Whitney Pavlik and Jenny Ann Kropp (21-17 21-17) in their first match.
Sweat and Fopma put up a good fight in the first set, hanging on till 21-20, but the long rally that followed went to Hughes and Ross. In the second set the difference was more significant. At 20-15 Hughes earned her team a spot in the qualification tournament with a crosscourt smash (22-20 21-15).
‘’It felt really good to play with Heather’’, said Ross, who finished 4th at the FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships with the other Hughes, Sara. ‘’This is our first event together, but it seems like we read each other’s minds.’’
Hughes: ‘’It sure feels like we have been playing together for a long time. But we are not finished yet. We want to play as well as we can her and get into main draw.’’
The qualification tournament starts at 15.00 on Wednesday, main draw follows on Thursday. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, the bronze medal match and final on Sunday.
Bangsaen, a popular beach resort amongst Thai tourists, is hosting the FIVB SWATCH World Tour for the first time. Thailand staged a women’s only World Tour event since 2006, but the previous editions were held at Phuket.
The Bangsaen Thailand Open is the 12th and final women’s event on the 2012 World Tour calendar. The men already finished the season in August in Stare Jablonki, Poland.