Songkhla, Thailand, April 14, 2016 – Stronger teams had a field day in the main draw of the “SMM” AVC Beach Tour 17th Samila Open as they brushed off lowered-ranked rivals to top their respective pools on Thursday at the Samila Beach in Songkhla.
A total of 27 teams from 15 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Indonesia,, Qatar, Iran and hosts Thailand contested the pool round-robin preliminaries and though competing in the searing sun, the energy-sapping heat failed to dampen all players’ enthusiasm.
Australian top seeds and three-time Asian winners Isaac Kapa/Chris McHugh, questing for winning their successive two titles in Thailand as they have already captured the “SMM” AVC Beach Tour Pak Para Open in Satun on Monday, proved too strong for their inexperienced opponents to successfully clear their first two matches to top Pool A.
Kapa/McHugh, who have been playing together for around four years, first sent Sri Lankans Asanka Medagedara Lekamalage/Pubudu Ekanayakage packing 21-16 21-11 to next mercilessly crush Maldives’ Ahmed Anil Naseer/Shiunaz Abdul Waahid in a totally one-sided battle 21-9 21-14. With two straight wins, the in-form Aussies have booked a berth in the round of 16 and are due to take on Thailand 2’s Adisorn Khaolumtarn/Nuttanon Inkiew on Friday.
“I think we played the way we can play. We tried to play our best and we are very happy to get two wins. We try to keep going and try to win the tournament here. It is not that hot today when we played. The courts here are really nice with the sand a little bit deeper than the previous one in Satun last week. So, we have to move a little harder. I think it’s always great great to play on the real beach sites as we can see beautiful sunset. In terms of the crowd, I think it has also attracted a large crowd of spectators here,” said Kapa.
Kazakhstan’s second seeds Alexey Sidorenko/Alexander Dyachenko, gold medallists at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, also claimed the top spot in Pool B with two wins in a row. The Kazakh duo tamed Hong Kong’s Lau/Wong 21-11 21-8 to later thrash Thailand 2’s Adisorn and Nuttanon 21-16 21-17. The Kazakh pairing will take on the Philippines’ Jade Becaldo/Hachaliah Gilbuena in the round of 16 on Friday.
New Zealanders Mike Watson/Sam O’Dea made a clean sweep in Pool C after powering past Filipinos Becado/Gilbuena 21-15 21-17 and packed off Oman 2’s Badar/Ahmed 21-12 21-12. Watson/O’Dea are due to take on Ben O’Dea/Tom Hartles in the all-Kiwis clash of round of 16 on Friday.
Australia 2’s Joshua Court/Damien Schumann emerged as the Pool D winners as they pulled off two victories in their pool. Court/Shumann beat Iranians Reza Naeini Assari/Bahman Gholipoury 21-15 21-11 before outclassing Kiwis Tom Hartles/Ben O’Dea 21-13 21-17 in their second match. In the next round, the Aussies are due to take on Sri Lankans Asanka/Pubudu.
In the other pool competitions, Chinese Li Zhuoxin/Li Jian top Pool E after winning two straight wins over Maldives and Oman and will next go up against Thailand 1’s Prathip Sukto/Banlue Nakprakhong, while Pool F was dominated by Japan’s Shiratori/Hasegawa.
In Pool G, Indonesians Gilang/Danang, Kazakhstan 2’s Dmitriy Yakovlev/Sergey Bogatu and Qataris Julio/Ahmed Tijan had the similar performances with two wins against one loss
However, with the better points ratio, the Indonesians and the Qataris advanced to the round of 16. Indonesians Gilang/Danang take on Japanese Shiratori/Hasegawa on Friday, with the Qataris challenging Omanis Al-Shereiqi/Al-Housni.
Japanese Takumi Takahashi/Yuya Agaba top Pool H following a clean sweep of three wins in the pool, while Thailand 1’s Prathip Sukto and Banlue Nakprakhong finished second with two wins against one loss. However, both teams advanced to the round of 16, with the Japanese duo next taking on Indonesians Candra/Ashfiya and the Thai tandem challenging Chinese Li Zhuoxin/Li Jian.
Meanwhile, local hopefuls Varapatsorn Radarong/Tanarattha Udomchavee bagged two wins to lead Pool A in the women’s event. The Thai duo started strongly with a totally one-sided 21-9 21-11 win over Vietnam’s Pham Le Tuyet Ngan/Le Thi Bich Vy before struggling to beat Japanese Akiko Hasegawa/Ayumi Kusano 21-7 13-21 15-8. Varapatsorn/Tanarattha on Friday will go up against Australia 2’s Sarah Battaglene/Becchara Palmer.
“Today we are quite satisfied with our performance, but at the near end of second set we couldn’t control the game. So, we found it hard to play in the third set. Our opponents also played very well. I like the courts here. The sand is much softer than that in Satun.it is quite windy here, so it is not that hot,” Varapatsorn commented after the afternoon match.
Kazakhstan’s Tattayana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova, gold medallists at the 2014 Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand and silver medallists at the Pak Bara Open in Satun on Monday, led the charge in Pool B with two comfortable wins on Thursday including a 21-8 21-15 victory over Indonesians Desi Ratnasari/Yokebed Purari Eka.
In Pool C, Australia 1’s Mariafe Artacho Del Solar/Nicole Laird, silver medallists at the last month’s Asian Championships at Manly Beach in Sydney and champions at the Pak Bara Open in Satun, proved that they remain on the right track to claim another title in Thailand as they had already snatched two wins comprising a lop-sided 21-5 21-5 victory over Sri Lankans Kasurni Alawaththage/Ruwani Warnakulasooriya and a 21-7 21-15 win over New Zealand’s Tilley/Bain.
Indonesia’s Dhita Juliana/Putu Dini Jasita dominated Pool D, thrashig Singapore’s Lee/Chong 21-3 21-2 in just 20 minutes and Japanese Shinako Tanaka/Sakurako Fujii 21-14 21-17.
The pool round-robin preliminaries continue in the women’s event on Friday. The round of 16 teams will also be held in the men’s competition, followed by the quarter-finals on the same day.