Australia and Japan shared top honours in the double-gender event in Chinese Taipei
Australian top seeds Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher bounced back from first-set down to stun Kiwis Bradley Fuller/Alani Nicklin in thrilling three-setter to capture men’s title of the 2023 AVC Beach Tour Penghu Open at Aimen Beach, Penghu Islands in Chinese Taipei, as top seeds Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe reigned supreme in the women’s event after 2-0 demolition of second seeds Akiko Hasegawa/Yurika Sakaguchi in the all-Japanese showdown on Sunday.
Nicolaidis and the 1.99m Carracher were the familiar faces on the Australian Beach Volleyball Tour leading into 2021-2022 who burst onto the international scene at the Gold Coast Beach Pro Tour Futures event Coolangatta in April, winning gold in their first International event as a pair.
In the Sunday morning’s semifinals, the Australian duo, who finished 9th at FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022, powered past Japanese Kosuke Fukushima/Hiroki Dylan Kurokawa 21-17, 21-19 to advance to the afternoon’s final clash against fourth seeds Fuller/Nicklin.
The Kiwis, fresh from taking silver medal at the Wenzhou Cangnan Futures event in China last week, survived a scare from Pithak Tipjan/Poravid Taovato to stun the Thai second seeds 2-1 (21-15, 13-21, 15-13) in the other semifinal clash.
The men’s showdown saw Nicolaidis/Carracher go down 15-21 to Fuller/Nicklin in the opening set. However, the Aussies shrugged off their rust to take the comfortable second set 21-13 and went on their fine form to win the hotly-contested tie-breaker 15-13 and the eventual title.
In the bronze medal match earlier, Thailand’s Pithak and Poravid, who last December claimed their first Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour gold medal at Subic Bay Futures event in Philippines apart from taking bronze medal at this year’s Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Fuzhou, China, struggled hard to beat Japanese Fukushima/Dylan 2-1 (21-14, 21-23, 18-16) in exhausting 57 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the women’s event, Japan was assured of clinching the crown since Sunday morning when two Japanese teams brushed off their respective opponents in the semifinals to set up the all-Japanese final showdown.
Miki Ishii/Sayaka Mizoe, who finished back-to-back fourth place at the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in 2022 and 2023, swept Vanuatu’s Majabelle Lawac/Sherysyn Toko 21-16, 21-8 in the first semifinal encounter.
The other clash saw compatriots Akiko/Yurika put it past Australians Jana Milutinovic/Stefanie Fejes 2-1 (24-22, 19-21, 15-11) in grueling 56 minutes.
The highly-anticipated final clash in the afternoon saw Ishii/Mizoe brush off Akiko/Yurika 21-18, 21-16 to claim the women’s title with remarkable unbeaten recored by not losing a single set to their respective rivals en route to winning the gold medal.
Australians Milutinovic and Fejes, who won the Coolangatta Futures gold to their name, took home bronze medal after breezing past Vanuatu’s Lawac/Toko, bronze medallists at the Coolangatta Futures event, 21-13, 21-11 in the third-place playoff.
AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: www.twitter.com/AsianVolleyball
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation
AVC WeChat: Asian Volleyball Confederation