USA’s Kessy joins up with Sweat to top Pool G at Phuket Open
Kessy/Sweat were first on court at 9:00 in Phuket with temperatures already up to 30°C. In their first outing together, the US team quickly found their feet, beating Melinda Adelin and Laura Longuet from France 2-0 (21-8, 21-13).
“This morning was a good first match for us. This is our first tournament playing together and we haven’t had a lot of practice together, so we were just figuring things out in that match and came away with the win,” said Sweat.
Kessy/Sweat then played strong qualifiers Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider (GER) on centre court in the heat of the day. Germany surprised the US pair, pushing the first set all the way, but Kessy/Sweat finally closed it 26-24. The German pair began to struggle in their third match of the tournament and reluctantly forfeited the match at 10-4.
“It’s always tough to play a team you’ve never seen before, you’ve never played before and they did really well. They had really good ball control, good defence, good serving so I think we got a little bit behind in the first set and then battled back to win 26-24. Luckily we won that game and then I think the heat just got to the German’s and they forfeited so we’re really happy to come out with a win,” said Kessy.
Kessy pairs up with Sweat for the first time in Phuket, despite appearing in the tournament over multiple years winning gold twice and silver once here before with April Ross.
“As long as the tournament has been going I have been coming here. I hadn’t played a lot this year and I saw that Brooke needed a partner for this tournament and I thought absolutely, so I was so excited to come back,” said Kessy.
April Ross enters Phuket with Jennifer Fopma as Kessy plans to spend more time with her family over the coming years, but Brooke still has the pleasure of playing with Kessy in Thailand.
“It’s an honour to play with Jennifer, she’s been playing since I started watching her and following her so to play with an Olympic silver medallist, I never thought I would. It’s amazing,” said Brooke.
Menegatti/Orsi Toth meet Arvaniti/Karagkouni
Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth had a
tough first match in Phuket facing Vasiliki Arvaniti and Panagiota Karagkouni
from Greece. The first set went according to plan for the Italian’s winning
21-13, but the Greek pair came out strong in the second.
Arvaniti/Karagkouni first took the edge at 8-7 and from there it was a battle for the lead. A number of long points midway through began to produce errors, but Greece confidently smashed home the last two points taking the set 23-21.
The third set proved equally close, but a nice placement by Orsi Toth helped the Italian’s to end the match 2-1 (21-13, 21-23, 15-12).
“We feel great, it was the first match and it was so difficult I think, with this weather. We complicated our life because we would like to have won, two sets to zero, but maybe the weather, it’s too hot. But it’s OK like this, important is to win,” said Menegatti.
We have played together for about three months and we fit each other well. We are the same age. I think our strength is that we are very ambitious and we are together on the court and outside, so we are fine together."
Menegatti/Orsi Toth end the day just behind Evgenia Ukolova and Maria Prokopeva in Pool G and both pairs play their last two pool matches on Thursday in Phuket.
Thailand’s favourites Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee are still on track, topping Pool A at the end of the first day in the main draw. The Thai girls beat Svitlana Baburina and Diana Mulenko (UKR) 2-0 (21-8, 21-14) and then awarded their second match due to injury of Polish team Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska.
Thailand has hosted over 10 women’s and one men’s FIVB tournament. Overall, the USA has been the most successful with 10 medal finishes in the seven FIVB World Tour events held in Phuket.
The tournament previously ran from 2006 until 2011, when the event moved to Bangsaen in 2012. China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi won the 2011 edition, while Jennifer Kessy and April Ross were victorious in 2012.Phuket is an island located to the south of Thailand, while the city of Phuket is the island’s capital and home to 75,000 people. It is located 825 kilometres from Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.