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Phuket, Thailand, NOvember 22, 2014 – Defending champions Indonesia and Thailand came a step closer to making it two in a row in the 4th Asian Beach Games at Karon Beach on Saturday, with Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee thrashing Yupa Phokongploy and Usa Tenpaksee in the women’s all-Thais semi-finals to set up a final showdown with Kazakhstan.

Reigning champions Ade Candra Rachamawan and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro of Indonesia struggled hard to beat Qatar to go up against Iran in the men’s last clash.

The do-or-die semi-finals took place in the Saturday afternoon in the scorching sun, but the competition venue was packed to its seating capacity when a large crowd of spectators braved the searing heat to support their favorite teams.

In the women’s competition, Varapatsorn and Tanarattha, who took silver at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and bronze at the recent Pattaya Challenger on home soil, rallied past compatriots Yupa and Usa 22-20 21-13 in an entertaining match.

“I did it my best. Yupa and Usa also played well against us. We have never lost to them, but I myself had a bit pressure taking on them this time. We have played them for several times including three this year. We also beat them in the semi-finals at the Asian Games in Incheon,” Tanarattha said.

“We next take on Kazakhstan. It’s not easy to beat them. They are strong with hard attacks. We have played them many times and we take turns winning and losing. I will try my best in the final against them,” she added.

Exhausted Varapatsorn said, “It’s very, very hot here. Fatigue always played an influential role in me. If exhausted, I will always come up with several unforced mistakes. This time, I drank a lot of water to help reduce heat and fatigue and at the same time, I tried to adjust my breathing. Win or loss, I will do my best in the final round.”

Varapatsorn and Tanarattha will take on Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova in the showdown. The duo had a little problems in taming Indonesians Putu Dini Jasita Utama and Dhita Juliana 21-17 21-14 in the other semi-final clash on Saturday.

In the men’s event, title-hotshots Ade Candra Rachmawan and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro produced a magnificent come-from-behind 14-21 21-17 15-13 victory over Qataris Jefferson Santos Pereira and Mahmoud Assam.

The Indonesians will take on Iranians Saber Hoshmand and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun, who on Saturday had a daunting task against Dmitriy Yakovlev and Alexey Kuleshov, silver medallists at the previous episode in Haiyang, China two years ago, to stun the Kazakh tandem 17-21 21-14 15-12.

The third-place playoffs will be held from 1pm at Karon Beach, followed by the showdowns in the men’s and women’s events at 3pm and 4pm respectively.