Higher-seeded teams pulled off convincing wins against lower-ranked opponents, as four pairings of hosts Chinese Taipei including two men’s teams succumbed to two losses in succession to unfortunately crash out of the “Taichung Bank” AVC Beach Tour Penghu Open at Aimen Beach, Penghu Islands on Thursday.
The action-packed Day 1 of the Penghu Open kicked off on Thursday, with teams giving their best to strive for their success in the double-gender event, which has served as the last AVC beach volleyball event from which players’ accumulated points will be taken into account in their qualification for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Tlaxcala, Mexico from October 6 to 15, 2023.
In the women’s event, Japanese top seeds Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe, who finished a well-earned fourth place at this year’s Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Pingtan, China as well as the fifth position at the World Tour Itapema 2023 in Brazil, made a strong start with comfortable 21-8, 21-5 win against Macao, China’s Tam Kin Teng/Lei Keng Lai in a totally one-sided battle which lasted only 26 minutes in Pool A.
In the afternoon session, Tam and Lei revived their fortunes to produce comeback 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 16-14) win against Chinese Taipei’s Wang Sin Ting/Li Yun-Ting. On Friday, the host duo will play a must-win match against Ishii/Mizoe to keep their hopes of advancing alive.
In Pool B, Japan’s second seeds Akiko Hasegawa/Yurika Sakaguchi brushed off Philippines’ Progella Khylem Hari/Pagara Sofiah Shanine 21-12, 21-7, but the Filipinas made amends to outclass Law Weng Sam/Leong On Ieng from Macao, China 21-13, 21-11.
Law and Leong will next go up against Akiko/Yurika on Friday.
Australian third seeds Georgia Johnson/Jasmine Fleming, who won the first Australia National Tour event of the year 2023 in Canberra, opened up with 21-13, 21-18 triumph over Chinese Taipei’s Ting Pei-Yin/Yang Yi Chen in Pool C.
The host girls later on the same day suffered two losses in a row following their 17-21, 13-21 letdown against Vanuatu’s Joe Loti/Willie Chantale Leow to be the first pairing of hosts Chinese Taipei to be eliminated from the event.
Johnson and Fleming will fight it out with the Vanuatu pairing on Friday to vie for the Pool C winners. However, both sides are ensured of finishing Top 2 in the Pool to next make the Round of 16.
Another Vanuatu pairing, fourth seeds Majabelle Lawac/Sherysyn Toko, and Hong Kong, China’s Lo Wai Yan/Yuen Ting Chi bagged their similar 2-0 wins against Malaysians Lim Eunice Tian Ye/Xuan En Lee to face off against each other on Friday to vie for the Pool D winners.
Hosts Chinese Taipei lost their second pairing in this Penghu Open when Liu Pi Hsin/Chang Wei-Jie went down 14-21, 17-21 to Japanese fifth seeds Suzuka Hashimoto/Reika Murakami and suffered their stunning second loss 21-18, 16-21, 11-15 at the hands of Thailand’s Rumpaipruet Numwong/Galchananan Jirutchayabhornwadee in the afternoon. The Japanese and Thai duos set up a clash on Friday to determine the Pool E winners.
With only top two teams from each pool advancing, Pools F, G and H, featuring only two teams each, will kick off their Penghu Open campaigns on Friday. However, all teams in the above-mentioned three pools are guaranteed of making the next round.
Meanwhile, two more pairings of the host nation were out of contention in the men’s event.
Thailand’s third seeds Surin Jongklang/Dunwinit Kaewsai and Philippines’ Abdilla Alnakran/Jaron Requinton beat Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chin-Ju/Hsueh Yun-Yi in Pool C, with the former routing the host duo 21-13, 21-18 and the latter bouncing back to stun them in thrilling three-setter 17-21, 21-14, 15-10.
Tsai Chin-Lung/Hsu Chen-Wei became the fourth pairing of Chinese Taipei to crash out of the event following their 15-21, 11-21 loss in their first match to Qatari sixth seeds Ibrahim Nassim Abdallah/Zaki Mohamed Ihab in Pool F. The host duo still failed to make their mark in their second match on the same day after 13-21, 14-21 loss to Indonesians Ashfiya Mohammad/Pribadi Danangsyah.
In Pool A, Australian top seeds Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher, who finished 9th at FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022 and captured gold medal in the Gold Coast Beach Pro Tour Futures event on the same year to their name, spent only 27 minutes in overcoming Macao, China’s Wong Wai Hei/Cheong Hou Wang in comfortable affair 21-8, 21-10.
Wong and Cheong suffered the second consecutive loss after going down 1-2 (13-21, 24-22, 11-15) to Malaysians Wei Chun Ler/Kai Xu Lool.
Thailand’s second seeds Pithak Tipjan/Poravid Taovato and Hong Kong, China’s Wong Ka Yun/Tse Kin Wang managed similar 2-0 shutouts in their Pool B matches against Malaysians Nagarajan Phavithyranmuni/Mohammad Jay Mohammad. Thailand and Hong Kong China set up a Friday’s clash to determine the Pool B winners, but both of them are sure of advancing to Round of 16.
In Pool D, New Zealand’s fourth seeds Fuller Bradley/Nicklin Alani, fresh from taking silver medal at the Wenzhou Cangnan Futures event in China, outplayed Tuvalu’s Bilra Ata Taunteang/Isaac Ampex 21-13, 21-12. The second match of the Tuvalu duo and Philippines’ James Buytrago/Jude Garcia was forfeited when one of the Tuvalu players forgot to bring his jersey, leaving the referee to stop the contest with the Filipinos advancing.
Fifth seeds Banlue Nakprakhong/Wachirawit Muadpha became the third Thai men’s pairing to make the cut for the Round of 16 following their 2-0 (21-13, 21-11) demolition of Macao, China’s Chan Ka Lon/Tam Chit Meng. Japanese Kosuke Fukushima/Hiroki Dylan Kurokawa joined the Thai duo to the next round after cruising past Chan and Tam 21-14, 21-10.
The pool round-robin preliminaries continue on Friday when only top two teams from each pool in both men’s and women’s events advance to the Round of 16 on Saturday.
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