Thailand1’s Suchinna/Apinya and Australia1’s Fejes/Stevens set up women’s final rematch of Asian U19 Championships

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, July 14, 2021 – Thailand has its stranglehold on the 4th Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships with all three teams securing their men’s semifinal berths, as Thailand1’s Suchinna Choemphun/Apinya Saengpaeng and Australia1’s Stefanie Fejes/Alisha Stevens set up the Asian U19 Championships final rematch in the women’s showdown on Thursday.

At the previous edition in Roi Et two years ago, Thailand’s Phichakon Narathon/Phanuphong Thanan and Thatsarida Singchuea /Pawarun Chanthawichai handed the host nation a perfect sweep with victories in the respective men’s and women’s events. This time, Thai players still keep their high hopes of keeping both titles at home alive.

In the men’s event, top seeds Thailand1’s Phichakon Narathon, who claimed gold medal at the previous edition, stayed on the right track of making it to the final showdown again with new partner Poravid Taovato.

The Thai duo captured the top spot in Pool A following an exceptional 21-17, 21-17 win against
Australia2’s Benjamin Booth/Lucas Josefsen in their last round-robin preliminary encounter on Wednesday morning. However, both teams advanced to the quarterfinals as winless Iran2’s Amir Reza Zamani/Reza Naghibizadeh Shamili crashed out of the competition earlier.

Phichakon and Poravid lived up to expectations as they went up against Regar Renata/Afta Widura in the quarterfinals and faced no serious issues in powering past the Indonesians in comfortable straight sets 21-12, 21-16 to enter the semifinals. In the morning match earlier, Renata and Widura made their mark as they overcame a sturdy challenge from Darkhan Amanzholov/Damir Lapov to beat the Kazakhstan1 21-18, 21-18 in their last preliminary Pool D encounter.

Thailand2’s Netitorn Muneekul/Wachirawit Muadpha, who topped Pool B with straight two wins, prove a cut above Abdallah Nassim/Abdullah Hassanein in the quarterfinals, knocking out the Qataris in a lopsided battle 21-12, 21-11.

It was a double blow for Nassim and Hassanein as they succumbed to two defeats on one day. In the morning clash earlier, the Qataris went down 20-22, 17-21 in their last Pool C match against Iran1’s Abolhassan Khakizadech/Sina Shokati Shekarsaraei. However, the Qataris finished second in the pool plays to join the Iranians in the afternoon quarterfinals.

Thailand3’s Narakorn Chumaphai/Nopphawit Puttharong, who topped Pool D with two wins in a row, went on their dazzling performance to put it past fighting Philippines’ Jay Rack De La Noche/Alexander Jhon Iraya 21-18, 21-10 in the quarterfinals.

The Filipinos earlier pulled off a stunning comeback 15-21, 21-14, 15-10 win against Australia1’s Connor O’Neill/Ruben Gale in their last Pool B match.

Iran1’s Abolhassan Khakizadech, who teamed up with Ali Ghorbanpasandi to seal gold medal at the last week’s Asian U19 Championships, came up with new partner Sina Shokati Shekarsaraei but proved to be one of the strong contenders to be reckoned with in the Asian U21 Championships.

The Iranians brushed off Qatar 2-0 in the morning preliminary match and repeated the similar feat in the afternoon quarterfinals by eliminating Australia2’s Benjamin Booth/Lucas Josefsen 21-16, 21-14.

On Thursday, the first semifinal clash sees Phichakon and Poravid take on Narakorn and Nopphawit in the all-Thais battle, while Iran1’s Abolhassan and Sina will be out to prove their ability against Thailand2’s Netitorn and Wachirawit, looking for opportunities to make double success on Thai soil.

Meanwhile, the women’s showdown of the Asian U21 Championships has turned out to be a final rematch of last week’s Asian U19 Championships at the same competition here when Thailand1’s Suchinna Choemphun/Apinya Saengpaeng and Australia1’s Stefanie Fejes/Alisha Stevens will battle it out for the eventual crown.

The Aussies have their sights firmly set on winning back-to-back titles in Thailand after they first captured the Asian U19 title last week, while the Thai duo also aimed high to avenge the loss in the Asian U19 final clash to the tough opponents in the highly-anticipated showdown on Thursday.

In the Wednesday’s semifinals, Suchinna and Apinya produced an incredible comeback 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-13) win against Patcharaporn Seehawong and Jidapa Bunongkhun in the all-Thais affair.

Fejes and Stevens also advanced to the final showdown in the same fashion as they came from behind to beat Australia2’s Jasmine Fleming/Jesse Mann 19-21, 21-16, 15-11 in the other semifinal clash. Thailand2’s Patcharaporn and Jidapa will next challenge Australia2’s Fleming and Mann in the third-place playoff match.

On Thursday, the final day of the double-gender competition, the men’s semifinals will take place at 8am at the competition site in front of Mida Grande Hotel Dhavaravati Nakhon Pathom here, with the third-place playoff and the final match being held at 1pm and 2pm respectively.

The bronze-medal match in the women’s event will start at 9.30am, followed by the final showdown at 11am.

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