Roi Et, Thailand, March 3, 2017 – Hosts Thailand kept chances of winning the SMM 2nd Asian U21 Beach Volleyball Championships alive on Friday as three home pairings cruised into the semifinals.
On a day when powerhouse China lost both the crowns they were defending, Thailand 1’s Marudet Buntem/ Jatoopon Saenyoot led the way, remaining invincible in the men’s event. They will take on Iran 1 in the semifinals.
Marudet, who last year partnered Banlue Nakprakhong to claim the silver medal, teamed up with Jatoopon to outclass Chamnan Phiset/ Akkarapon Tumdee 21-17, 21-7 in the all-Thai second round match. In the third round, the Thailand 1’s pulled off a hard-fought 21-17, 21-19 win over Kazakhstan 1’s Yegor Dmitriyev/ Yerlan Yelubayev.
Marudet/Jatoopon will next go up against Iran 1’s Alireza Aghajani-Ghasab/ Javad Firouzpourbabdpei in Saturday’s semifinals. Aghajani-Ghasab/ Firouzpourbabdpei brushed off Oman 1’s Mohammed Al-Shibli/ Al-Mandhar Al-Mezeini 21-17, 21-13 in the second round and Australia 2’s Justin Schumann/ Mitchell Wakefield 21-17, 22-20 in the third round.
Also advancing to the semifinals were Australia 1’s Paull Burnett/ Marcus Ferguson, who will test their mettle against Thailand 3’s Konsiphong Vaikuntha-Anuchit/ Keattisak Naksompol. The Thai duo on Friday eliminated Sri Lanka 1’s Ranga Probate Abeysinghe/ Ashen Rashmika Jayasinghe Liyanage 21-16, 21-9 in the second round and found their touch in the third round when they toppled second seeds China 1 (Liu Chuanyong/ Tao ChengAn) 21-17, 22-20.
In the women’s category, Japanese third seeds Reika Murakami/ Hana Deguchi, last year’s silver medallists, flexed their muscles on Friday. The Japanese advanced to the semifinals after capturing two straight wins on Friday including a fantastic 21-19, 21-14 victory over Thailand 4’s Kanyanee Kaewkepkham/ Phatsurinyo Inchaiya.
However, a daunting task awaits the Japanese duo in the semifinals when they will be pitted against Vanuatu’s Joe Ioti/Toko Sherysyn. The Vanuatu pair performed superbly to beat Japan 2’s Reina Tokoku/ Miyu Kikuchi 21-16, 21-19 in the second round and second seeds China 1 (Cao Shuting/ Wang Jiaxi) 21-14, 23-21 in the third round.
The other semifinal clash sees Indonesians Maria Dwiningtyas/ Vitria Dwi Rahayu, who stunned top seeds Thailand 1 (Sirinuch Kawfong/ Saranya Laesood) 24-22, 25-27, 16-14 in a hard-fought thriller in the third round, take on Thailand 3’s Pawarun Chanthawichai/ Thatsarida Singchuea.