Beach Volleyball News

Ha Long, Vietnam, May 1, 2016 – Fired-up Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Nicole Laird proved a cut above the rest to capture the AVC Women’s Beach Volleyball Tour 2016 – Vietnam Tuan Chau – Ha Long Open following a comfortable straight-set 21-11 21-17 win over New Zealand’s Julia Tilley/Alice Bain in the final showdown on Sunday.

The Sunday’s victory was the Artacho del Solar/Laird’s fourth in the top-three podium of this year’s AVC Beach Tour competitions. The world U23 champions have already landed two AVC Beach Tour events in Thailand last month comprising the Pak Bara Open in Satun and the Samila Open in Songkhla. However, they had to be content with the third place at the last week’s Palembang Open in Indonesia aside from taking silver medal at the Asian Championships at the Manly Beach in Sydney in March.

En route to the final clash on Sunday, Artacho del Solar/Laird did not lose a match to their respective rivals. In the morning semi-finals, the formidable Australians struggled to beat China 2’s Wang Xinxin/Ding Jingjing 23-21 21-13 to storm into the final, where they were due to take on Julia Tilley/Alice Bain. The New Zealanders secured a final berth without sweating when China 1’s Chen Chunxia/Tang Ningya decided to pull out of the clash because they had to leave for the World Tour in Russia.

The regulations indicated that the China 1’s departure is on May 2, but the team decided to leave earlier, which caused much trouble to the organisers because of the contract with TV Host Broadcaster and the promotion of the competition.

The all-Chinese third-place playoff was also cancelled which saw China 2’s Wang Xinxin/Ding Jingjing receive a walkover from compatriots Chen Chunxia/Tang Ningya to take the third place. The China 1’s duo came in fourth place.

In the final showdown, Artacho del Solar/Laird had an easy job against Kiwis Julia Tilley/Alice Bain as the first set turned out to be a totally one-sided affair which ended 21-11 in favour of the Australians.

Holding a one-set advantage, Artacho del Solar/Laird maintained their splendid form to dominate the whole game in the second set as they still produced a perfect combination with more consistency to win the set 21-17, the match and the gold medal.

For the victory, Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Nicole Laird of Australia 1 received the Champions’ Trophy plus the US$3,000 cash prize, while New Zealand’s Julia Tilley/Alice Bain and China 2’s Wang Xinxin/Ding Jingjing finished second and third places to respectively take home US$2,250 and US$1,800 prize money.

Final results

Semi-finals: Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Nicole Laird (Australia 1) b Wang Xinxin/Ding Jingjing (China 2) 2-0 (23-21 21-13); Julia Tilley/Alice Bain (New Zealand) b Chen Chunxia/Tang Ningya (China 1) 2-0 (21-0 21-0)

Playoffs:  Phoebe Bell/Becchara Palmer (Australia 2) b Utara/Matsuyama (Japan 1) 21-16 21-11; Habaguchi/Yamada (Japan 2) b Mai Hoa/Thi Tiep (Vietnam 3) 2-1 (21-17 21-17 15-9)

Final: Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Nicole Laird (Australia 1) b Julia Tilley/Alice Bain (New Zealand) 2-0 (21-11 21-17)

Final team rankings

1. Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Nicole Laird (Australia 1)

2. Tilley Jilia/Bain Alice (New Zealand)

3. Wang Xinxin/Ding Jingjing (China 2) and Chen Chunxia/Tang Ningya (China 1)

5. Erika Habaguchi/Toshiko Yamado (Japan 2) and Phoebe Bell/Becchara Palmer (Australia 2)

7. Mai Hoa/Thi Tiep (Vietnam 3) and Keiko Utara/Hiroko Matsuyama (Japan 1)

9. Tuyet Ngan/Bich Vi (Vietnam 2); Ng Tin Lai/Wong Yuen Mei (Hong Kong); Kijja Khantarak/Ariya Laosaengsa (Thailand 1); Thanh Tram/Thu Van (Vietnam 1)

13. Nanda Ragillia/Andriani Riski Dwi (Indonesia) and Yodsaphat Pakham/Chanthira Khanok  (Thailand 2)