Maoming, China, May 9, 2019 – Top four seeds in the women’s event lived up to billings to get their campaign at the 2019 Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships off to winning start on Thursday, with local hopefuls Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi struggling to bag first victory.

Chinese Wang Fan/Xia Xinyi, gold medallists at the last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia and winners at the last month’s Asian Tour Samila Open in Songkhla, Thailand, had a little problems in claiming the first set win 21-16 in their first match against Francesca Kirwan/Olivia MacDonald in Pool A.

However, the New Zealanders fought back bravely in the second set, proving a tough nut to crack for Wang and Xia as they pushed the Chinese duo to deuce. With the greater experience, Wang and Xia survived a scare from the tough rivals to end their challenge 2-0 (21-16 22-20) to next take on Nicole Laird/Becchara Palmer of Australia.

Laird and Palmer, gold medallists at the 2019 FIVB World Tour 3-Star in Sydney in March, on Thursday handed Kiwis Kirwan/MacDonald the day’s first loss as the Australian duo spent only 31 minutes in thrashing the rivals 2-0 (21-15 21-18).

In Pool B, Australian second seeds Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho Del Solar, defending champions who captured several titles at last year’s FIVB World Tour events including Espinho Open and Sydney Open and also silver medallists at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at home in Gold Coast, also struggled to beat Chinese Zeng Jinjin/Lin Meimei in tie-break 21-14 11-21 15-10. The Aussies will next take on Sherysyn Toko/Miller Pata on Friday. The Vanuatu’s pairing also faced the similar situation in their Thursday’s match earlier when they beat Chinese Zeng Jinjin/Lin Meimei with a terrific comeback 2-1 (19-21 23-21 15-11) win.

Japanese Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami, winners at the last month’s Asian Tour Can Tho Open in Vietnam and silver medallists at the last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, registered two victories in Pool C on Thursday. After an exceptional 2-0 (21-10 21-7) win over Chinese Taipei’s Kung Shih-Wen/Yeh Hsuan-Tsen in just 27 minutes, the Japanese pairing continued their remarkable run to beat Chinese Bai Bing/Yuan Luwen 2-0 (21-17 21-8).

On Friday, Ishii/Murakami will go up against Australians Phoebe Bell/Jessyka Ngauamo, who also claimed two straight wins comprising a dramatic 2-1 (14-21 21-16 15-6) triumph against Chinese Bai Bing/Yuan Luwen and a convincing 2-0 (21-17 21-11) win against Chinese Taipei’s Kung Shih-Wen/Yeh Hsuan-Tsen.

Fourth seeds Xue Chen/Wang Xinxin also proved their superiority with a one-day two wins in a row in Pool D. The Chinese duo beat Hong Kong China’s To Wing Tung/Kong Cheuk Yee 2-0 (23-21 21-12) in their first match and later repeated the similar feat following a comfortable 2-0 (21-13 21-12) win against Thailand’s Chanthira Khanok/Yodsaphat Pakham.

In Pool E, fifth seeds Varapatsorn Radarong/Khanittha Hongpak enjoyed a mixed luck on Day 1. The Thai tandem suffered their first loss to Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova 17-21 18-21 to revive their fortunes and win their second encounter against Hong Kong China’s Au Yeung Wai Yan/Koo Yung Yung 2-0 (21-17 21-11). Varapatsorn/Khanittha will next challenge Sayaka Mizoe/Suzuka Hashimoto on Friday.

The Japanese pairing on Thursday overwhelmed Hong Kong China’s Au Yeung Wai Yan/Koo Yung Yung 2-0 (21-16 21-7) in 28 minutes, but went down to Kazakhs Mashkova/Tsimbalova in hard-fought three-setter 21-23 21-15 10-15.

Kou Nai-Han and Liu Pi Hsin, winners at the last month’s FIVB World Tour 1-star Pak Bara Open in Satun, Thailand, stole the show on Day 1 with two straight wins. The Chinese Taipei’s duo first outclassed Thailand’s Chanthira/Yodsaphat 2-0 (21-9 21-10) to mercilessly crush Hong Kong China’s To Wing Tung/Kong Cheuk Yee in a totally lop-sided affair 21-9 21-7 in 28 minutes.

The top-flight competitions serves as a final test for qualified Asian players ahead of their tougher task at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany from June 28 to July 7.

This year’s Asian meet saw a total of 22 women’s teams vie for the crown. Hosts China fielded four teams, while Australia, Japan and Thailand had three teams apiece. Hong Kong China, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei each sent two strong teams, with Vanuatu, Kazakhstan and Singapore fielding one team apiece.

The double-gender Championships continue through Sunday, as Chinese women’s players hope high to smash Australia’s dreams of making it three in a row in the Asian meet. Australians Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy won gold in 2017 in Songkhla, Thailand and Clancy captured back-to-back title as she partnered Mariafe Artacho Del Solar to reign supreme.


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