Top 16 seeds cruised their ways to the men’s round of 16, as 15th-seeds Law Weng Sam/Leong On Ieng from Macao, China and 16th-seeds Wang Sin Ting/Li Yun-Ting of the host nation were the only two pairings among the women’s Top 16 seeds who missed the cut for the knockout stage of the “Taichung Bank” AVC Beach Tour Penghu Open at Aimen Beach, Penghu Islands on Friday.
In the men’s event, Top 3 seeds lived up to expectations to top their respective pools, with Australian top seeds Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher, who finished 9th at FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022, making a clean sweep in Pool A without dropping a set to their respective rivals.
On Friday, the Aussies spent 26 minutes in demolishing Malaysians Wei Chun Ler/Kai Xu Looi 21-9, 21-12 in their last preliminary match to determine the Pool A winners. However, both pairings have already made it to the Saturday’s round of 16.
Thailand’s second seeds Pithak Tipjan/Poravid Taovato, who last December captured their first Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour medal, a Subic Bay Futures gold, aside from picking up bronze medal at this year’s Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Pingtan, China, topped Pool B as expected. The Thai duo remained the strong team to be reckoned with in this double-gender Penghu Open as they have yet lost a set to their respective rivals.
On Friday, Pithak and Poravid had a comfortable match against Hong Kong, China’s Wong Ka Yan/Tse Kin Wang 21-9, 21-15. However, both teams had already secured their spots in the round of 16.
Another Thai duo, third seeds Surin Jongklang/Dunwinit Kaewsai, emerged as the top spot in Pool C without losing a set. On Friday, Surin and Dunwinit defeated Philippines’ Alnakran Abdilla/Jaron Requinton 21-19, 21-16.
The 13th seeds James Buytrago/Jude Garcia of Philippines bounced back from the first set loss to Fuller Bradley/Nicklin Alani, who picked up silver medal at the Wenzhou Cangnan Futures event in China a few days ago, to stun the New Zealand’s fourth seeds with comeback 2-1 (16-21, 21-17, 15-13) win to capture the top spot in Pool D.
Pool E was dominated by Japan’s 12th-seeds Kosuke Fukushima/Hiroki Dylan Kurokawa, who pulled off an upset 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-11) win against Thailand’s fifth seeds Banlue Nakprakhong/Wachirawit Muadpha.
Qatar’s sixth seeds Ibrahim Nassim Abdallah/Zaki Mohammed Ihab topped Pool F after 2-0 (21-9, 21-17) rout of Indonesians Mohammad Ashfiya/Pribadi Danangsyah on Friday.
Japan’s 10th-seeds Kai Kurokawa/Shiro Furuta and Australian 9th-seeds Potts D’Artagnan/Ben Hood captured top spots in Pool G and Pool H respectively, with the former struggling to beat Qatari 7th seeds Binaziz Elmajid Saifeddine/Mahmoud Assam Ahmed 2-1 (23-21, 24-26, 15-12) in grueling 71 minutes and the latter managing a 2-0 (24-22, 21-13) shutout of Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Ya-Jen/Wu Shin-Shian.
Meanwhile, the women’s competition saw the Top 4 seeds come up with brilliant form to top their pools without losing a single set to their respective rivals.
Japanese top seeds Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe, who finished a well-earned 4th place at this year’s Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Pingtan, China, topped Pool A after a clean sweep in the pool including a comfortable 2-0 (21-14, 21-11) win against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Sin Ting/Li Yun-Ting on Friday.
Another Japanese duo, second seeds Akiko Hasegawa/Yurika Sakaguchi, captured the top spot in Pool B following two consecutive wins in the Pool including a 21-10, 21-10 triumph over Law Weng Sam/Leong On Ieng on Friday. The Macao, China duo succumbed to two straight losses to crash out of the competition.
Third seeds Georgia Johnson/Jasmine Fleming of Australia topped Pool C after producing two wins in a row in the Pool including a stunning 2-0 (21-17, 21-10) win against Vanuatu’s Joe Loti/Willie Chantale Leow on Friday. Despite the loss, the Vanuatu pairing also joined the Australians in the round of 16 as Pool C runners-up.
Another Vanuatu pairing, fourth seeds Majabelle Lawac/Sherysyn Toko, also had a perfect run in Pool D to top the Pool without losing a set. In their last preliminary match on Friday, Lawac and Toko brushed off Hong Kong, China’s Lo Wai Yan/Yuen Ting Chin 21-9, 21-17.
Thailand’s 12th seeds Rumpaipruet Numwong/Galchananan Jirutchayabhormwadee sprang a surprise following their well-fought 2-1 (21-15, 12-21, 15-13) win against Japanese fifth seeds Suzuka Hashimoto/Reika Murakami in their last preliminary match on Friday to top Pool E.
Australian sixth seeds Jana Milutinovic/Stefanie Fejes topped Pool F, while Hong Kong, China’s To Wing Tung/Wong Man Ching and Chinese Taipei’s 8th seeds Yu Ya-Hsuan/Pan Tzu-Yi claimed the top spots in Pool G and Pool H respectively.
On Friday, Milutinovic and Fejes downed Dhita Juliana/Desi Ratnassari of Indonesia 2-0 (21-16, 21-15), while To Wing Tung/Wong Man Ching came from behind to narrowly beat Thailand’s Charanrutwadee Patcharamainaruebhorn/Woranatchayakorn Phirachayakrailert 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 17-15).
Yu Ya-Hsuan/Pan Tzu-Yi demolished Filipinas Floremel Rodriguez/Jane Eslapor Genesa 21-17, 21-11.
The four-day event continues on Saturday in the knockout round of 16, with the winning teams advancing to the afternoon quarterfinals. The semifinals, the third-place playoff and the showdown in the men’s and women’s events will be held on Sunday, the final day of the 2023 AVC Beach Tour Penghu Open.
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