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Mixed fortunes for home teams on first day of Samila Asian Beach Volleyball Tour

Chutipong Sukarayothin of Thailand 2 (left) blocks Santos Pereira of Qatar 1

Samila, Songkhla, Thailand, April 14, 2014 - Home spikers enjoyed mixed luck on the opening day of the 15th Samila-Chang Asian Beach Volleyball Tour at Samila Beach on Monday, with all Thai women's teams registering scintillating wins while the going got tough for their men's sides.

Disappointed by the loss in the third-place playoff in the last week's Khanom meet in Nakhon Si Thammarat, the 2012 Asian Beach Games champions Tanarattha Udomchavee/Varapatsorn Radarong (Thailand 1) displayed their improved performance with aggressive combination this time.

The Thai duo, who finished in third place here in Songkla in last year’s edition, made a superb start on their opener against Yu Ong Wei/Gabrielle Gomes Chleo to beat the Singaporeans 2-0 (21-7, 21-4) in 25 minutes. The fast-improving Tanarattha and Varapatsorn went on to bag their second win following a comfortable 2-0 (21-13, 21-12) victory over  Ngo Vo Thanh Loan/Tran Thi Trong (Vietnam 1).

Rumpaipruet Numwong/Khanittha Hongpak (Thailand 2) followed suit. After a stunning 2-0 (21-10, 21-12) win over Nanda Ragilia/Maria Dwiningtiyas (Indonesia 1) in their first match, the young guns from the home side made it two in a row by outclassing Melissa Ruru/Danielle Quigley (New Zealand 2) 2-0 (21-17, 21-12).

Teammates Usa Tenpaksee/Yupa Phokongploy (Thailand 3) were pushed to the limit by Bakhtygul Samalikova/Alexandra Varassova (Kazakhstan 2) in the opening set, but the Thai players clawed their ways back to take the hard-fought opener 25-23. In the second set, Usa and Yupa found their rhythm to beat their taller rivals with ease 21-13 for an eventual straight-set win.

Vanuatu's Elwin Miller/Latika Henriette, the women's champions at last week's Khanom meet in Nakhon Si Thammarat, still proved that they are the favourites to win the Samila meet having claimed two straight wins on Monday. They first outclassed Ayumi Kusano/Fujii Sakurako (Japan 2) 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) before beating  Sujeewa Wijesinghe Vithanage/Thaksila Niranjali Gunasinghe (Sri Lanka 2) 2-0 (21-13, 21-8) in 30 minutes.

Unlike the women's teams, the Thai men's sides played inconsistently. Sittichai Sangkhachot/Prathip Sukto (Thailand 1) started well by breezing past Badar Al Subhi/Hassan Al Balushi (Oman 1) 2-0 (21-12, 21-16), but could not maintain their form in the second match against Joshua Court/Damien Schumann (Australia 2) going down in straight sets 2-0 (16-21, 18-21) in 41 minutes.

Kittipat Yungtin/Chutipong Sukarayotin (Thailand 2) fought hard against  Tiago De J Santos/Pereira Santos (Qatar 1), but found the Qatari pairing, fresh from winning the last week's Khanom meet, too strong losing to them in straight-sets 2-0 (15-21, 13-21). However, the Thai duo went on to beat Sandun Madushnka Anbibuduge/Sapun Dileka Fernando Weerakonda (Sri Lanka 2) 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) in their second encounter.

Nevertheless, lady luck did not shine down on  Surin Jongklang/Banlue Nakprakhong (Thailand 3) when the home duo failed to make their mark to suffer three successive losses on the same day.

They first went down to Ashfiya Mohammad/Rendy Verdian Licardo (Indonesia 2) in easy encounter 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) before losing to  Nguyen Trong Quoc/Nguyen Thanh Vinh (Vietnam 1) 2-0 (21-18, 21-13). They were also given a tough challenge by  Jude Mahesh Perera Mahamalage/Wasantha Rathnapala Bombuwala (Sri Lanka 1) to go down in a gruelling 60-minute match which ended 2-1 (20-22, 21-19, 15-6) in favour of the visitors.

Meanwhile, Alexandr Dychenko/Alexey Sidorenko (Kazakhstan 1), who suffered a bitter loss to Tiago De J Santos/Pereira Santos (Qatar 1) in the men's showdown at the last week's Khanom meet, tamed Sandun Madushnka Andibuduge/Supun Dileka Ferando Weerakonda (Sri Lanka 2) 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) to later avenge the Qataris 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) in 36 minutes.

Koko Prasetyo Darkkuncoro/Ade Candra Rahmawan (Indonesia 1), winners at the 2012 Asian Beach Games, opened up with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-11) win over Sriramalu Dhamodharan/Pitchai Sivabalan (India 2), but lost their touch to go down to Samuel O'Dea/Michael Watson (New Zealand 2) 2-0 (21-15, 21-19).

Beach spikers from 12 countries including Australia, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Indonesia in the women's event and 17 nations including the Philippines, China, Iran and Kazakhstan in the men's category are vying for top honours in the 15th Samila Asian Beach Volleyball Tour.

The competition continues through Wednesday, when the semi-finals and finals will be held at the Samila Beach in Songkhla, Thailand.


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