Songkhla, Thailand, April 15, 2018 – Terrific men’s duo of Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawud, fresh from handing Thailand the first-ever World Tour gold medal in the recent Pak Bara Beach Satun, enjoyed a mixed luck on Sunday, but still captured the Pool A top spot to advance to the round of the last 16 in the AVC Beach Volleyball Tour 19th Samila Open in Songkhla.
Strong teams brushed aside less-experienced rivals on the opening day of the double-gender, four-day competition which saw teams battle it out in the pool round-robin preliminaries to book their berths for the round of last 16. Only top two teams from each pool in both men’s and women’s events made it to that round, while teams finishing third crashed out from the top-flight event.
In the men’s competition, top seeds Nuttanon/Sadtawat of Thailand 1 lost 17-21 21-19 13-15 in their morning first match to Australia 2’s Thomas Hodges/Marcus Ferguson, but regained their composure to win their second encounter against Oman 1’s Al Subhi Badar Said Abdullah/Alhashmi Mazin 21-17 21-14. Despite the mixed fortunes, the Thai pairing emerged as the Pool A winners and entered the round of last 16, where they have been drawn to take on Australia 1’s Zachary Schubert/Tim Dickson on Monday.
“We took command from the beginning and we just played our game, forcing the Omanis to fight under pressure against us and made more mistakes than us. I think we played Oman 1 more comfortable than Australia 2,” Nuttanon said after the match.
“Actually, we expected to win both matches against Australia 2 and Oman 1. Although we finished on top of Pool A, we (at press time) have yet known who our rivals will be in the round of last 16. However, we are well-prepared for playing in that round. We will do our best. Truly, although we claimed gold medal at the World Tour Pak Bara Beach, it did not guarantee us that we will repeat the feat again. We have to start from scratch, but hope we can maintain our fine form here,” Sedtawat added.
Second seeds Qatar, third seeds Indonesia 1, fourth seeds Iran 2, fifth seeds Iran 1, sixth seeds Indonesia 2, seventh seeds Australia 1 and eight seeds Thailand 2 all advanced to the round of last 16. For hosts Thailand, no team was left behind in the men’s event as all three teams secured their berths in the knock-out round of 16.
“We have a strong pool with Kazakhstan and China. Fortunately, we beat them all to top our pool. Last year, we claimed silver medal at the Asian Beach Volleyball Championships 18th Samila Open here, so I hope that we can reach the final again this year. If possible, we will try our best to stand on top of the podium this time,” said Indonesia 1’s Candra Ade Rachamawan, adding that his team will also represent hosts Indonesia in this year’s Asian Games.
In the knock-out round on Monday, Thailand 1’s Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawud take on Australia 1’s Zachary Schubert/Tim Dickson, Qatar’s Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan play Japan 2’s Katsuhiro Shiratori/Yuya Ageba, China 2’s Gao Peng/Li Yang face Iran 2’s Saleminjehboroun Bahman/Arash Vakili, China 1’s Ha Likejiang/Wu Jiaxin meet Thailand 3’s Kitti Duangjinda/Narongdet Kangkon, Hong Kong 1’s Wong Pui Lam/Kelvin Lau Tsz Ho challenge Iran 1’s Raoufi Rahman/Abolhamed Mizaali, Indonesia 1’s Candra Ade Rachamawan/Mohammad Ashfiya take on Thailand 2’s Surin Jongklang/Adisorn Khaolumtarn, Kazakhstan 2’s Sergey Bogatu/Dmitriy Yakovlev play Japan 1’s Takahashi Takumi/Ishijima Yusuke, Indonesia 2’s Pribadi Danangsyah/Gilang Ramadhan face Australia 2’s Thomas Hodges/Marcus Ferguson and Australia 1’s Zachery Schubert/Tim Dickson challenge Thailand 1’s Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawad.
Meanwhile, in the women’s event, four teams from the host side advanced to the Sunday’s main draw, but only Thailand 3’s Sumatra Sow/Chanthira Khanok were eliminated from the competition following their two losses in a row including a 0-2 loss to Australia 1’s Bell Phoebe/Jessyka Ngauamo and another 0-2 loss to Chinese Taipei 1’s Kou Nai-Harn/Liu Pi-Hsin.
Top seeds Thailand 1’s Rumpaipruet Numwong/Khanittha Hongpak, third place at the recent World Tour Pak Bara Beach Satun, captured two straight wins against Malaysia1’s Jessie Lai/Joo Shu Woon and Chinese Taipei’s Yu Ya-Hsuan/Pan Tzu-Yi to top Pool A.
In an interview after the match, Rumpaipruet admitted that a good combination between her and team-mate Khanittha played a vital role in winning comfortably in this match.
“We helped each other in the first set and tried to boost team-mate morale,” Rumpaipruet said.
“We tried to take control of the game. In the final moment of the set, I think I was exaggerating over my confidence and was prone to unforced errors. However, we combined well shortly after that and tried to win one point at a time. We had no pressure,” Khanittha added.
“We don’t want to set any target in this tournament although we finished third in the World Tour Pak Bara Beach last week. What we have to do is to play our best one at a time. Conditions of the competition courts and the winds here are totally different from what we faced while playing in Pak Bara. Unlike the competition courts in Satun, the beach sand here is natural. Therefore, it’s very difficult on our efforts of moving fast on the natural sands here,” she added.
Second seeds Wang Fan/Xia Xinyi from China 1, third seeds Australia 1’s Bell Phoebe/Jessyka Ngauamo, fourth seeds Dhita Juliana/Putu Utami from Indonesia 1, fifth sees Kazakhstan 1’s Tatyana Mashova/Irina Tsimbalova, sixth seeds China 2’s Wang Xinxin/Bai Bing, seventh seeds Japan 1’s Kusano Ayumi/Takemi Nishibori and eighth seeds Desi Ratnasari/Eka Yokebed from Indonesia 2 also progressed safely through to the round of the last 16.
On Monday, Thailand 1 take on Japan 2, Chinese Taipei 2 play Indonesia 2, China 1 face Hong Kong 2, Bell Phoebe/Jessyka Ngauamo face Brittany Kendall/Stefanie Weiler in the all-Australians affair, Indonesia 1 challenge Chinese Taipei 1, Hong Kong 1 play Japan 1, Kazakhstan 1 take on Thailand 2 and Thailand 4 play China 1.
The round of last 16 will start at 9pm on Monday, with the quarter-finals taking place from 3pm.
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