Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, July 12, 2021 – Thai men dominated the opening day of the 4th Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships in front of Mida Grande Hotel Dhavaravati Nakhon Pathom with a clean sweep on Monday, as Australia1 Stefanie Fejes/Alisha Stevens look to extend their reign as the dominant force in women’s event with two astonishing wins in one day.

Determined Fejes and Stevens, fresh from capturing the women’s crown at the last week’s Asian U19 Championships at the same venue here, spent only 25 minutes in breezing past third seeds Kazakhstan1’s Aisulu Mukhtarkyzy/Assemay Sabanbayeva 21-11, 21-12 in their round-robin preliminary clash in Pool B. The Australian second seeds continued their brilliant performance to outclass Thailand3’s Patcharaporn Pernchobtam/Chonthicha Thongkaew 21-15, 21-15 in 30 minutes.

Thailand2’s Patcharaporn Seehawong/Jidapa Bunongkhun, bronze medallists at the recent Asian U19 Championships, also registered two wins in a row in Pool B on Monday. The Thai duo first struggled to beat Patcharaporn/Chonthicha 22-20, 21-18 in the morning all-Thais battle and repeated the similar feat in the afternoon clash against Mukhtarkyzy/Sabanbayeva to comfortably shut out the Kazakhstan1 21-10, 21-10 in 23 minutes.

With two straight wins, Australia1’s Fejes/Stevens and Thailand2’s Patcharaporn/Jidapa are assured of finishing Top two in Pool B to advance to the women’s semifinals on Wednesday. Both sides set up their last preliminary clash on Tuesday to determine the Pool B winners.

At the same time, Thailand3’s Patcharaporn/Chonthicha and Kazakhstan1’s Mukhtarkyzy/Sabanbayeva similarly succumbed to straight two losses to suffer early exit from the double-gender competition. However, both teams will play their last match in the pool plays to vie for a better position in the tournament.

In Pool A, top seeds Thailand1’s Suchinna Choemphun/Apinya Saengpaeng proved a cut above Laura Kabulbekova/Nadezhda Ivanchenko to beat the Kazakhstan2 team 21-12, 21-11 in 27 minutes.

“In this match against Kazakhstan, we made a few mistakes on service and dig shots. We will try to come up with better performance as we will next take on Australia2 and Indonesia on Tuesday,” Apinya Saengpaeng said at the Mixed Zone.

The other Pool A clash saw Australia2’s Jasmine Fleming/Jesse Mann make a confident start in the Championships following an impressive 21-13, 21-18 win against Indonesians Rifda Alia Fadila/Francisca Arintha.

“I’m so happy to win our first match against Indonesia,” Mann said and her partner Fleming added, “We would like to thank AVC and the organisers for everything they have done for us. It’s a great tournament on a very beautiful day and thank you supporters back home.”

Meanwhile, all Thai teams claimed their first wins in the men’s event on Monday. Top seeds Thailand1’s Phichakon Narathon/Poravid Taovato powered past Iran2’s Amir Reza Zamani/Reza Naghibizadeh Shamili 21-14, 21-19 in Pool A.

Iran enjoyed mixed fortunes later on when Abolhassan Khakizadeh/Sina Shokati Shekarsaraei of Iran1 secured a scare from Alexandr Ketiladze/Alexandr Izmailov to beat the Kazakhstan2 team 21-19, 21-13 in Pool C.

In Pool B, Thailand2’s Netitorn Muneekul/Wachirawit Muadpha, silver medallists at the recent Asian U19 Championships, stunned second seeds Australia1’s Connor O’Neill/Ruben Gale 21-19, 21-14, while Thailand3’s Narakorn Chumaphai/Nopphawit Puttharong pulled off a convincing 21-19, 21-12 win against Kazakhstan1’s Darkhan Amanzholov/Damir Lapov in Pool D.

The pool round-robin preliminaries of the 4th Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships continue on Tuesday. However, due to probable rain throughout the whole week, the Control Committee led by Technical Delegate Mr Kritsada Panaseri decided to modify match schedule to avoid rain interruptions.

According to Kritsada, matches at 10am on July 13-15 will be played at 9:30am, while the July 13 match at 3pm will be changed to 2:30pm. The July 14 schedule has also been modified, with 2pm matches being held at 1:30pm and 4pm matches contested at 3pm.

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