Triumphant Khanittha Hongpak during her team’s successful run on home sand
Satun, Thailand, April 10, 2018 – Rumpaipruet Numwong and Khanittha Hongpak will defend the host country’s honour in the women’s semifinals at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour SMM Pak Bara Beach Satun event. The fifth-seeded Thai pair was the only local team to make it through both elimination rounds on Tuesday without losing a set.
Third-seeded Dhita Juliana and Putu Utami of Indonesia, fourth-seeded Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan and tenth-seeded Caitlin Ledoux and Emily Stockman of USA are the other three teams that progressed to the best four of the tournament.
In the first round of the knockout stage of the competition, Numwong and Hongpak defeated Indonesia’s Yokebed Eka and Desi Ratnasari in straight sets – 2-0 (21-10, 26-24). In the quarterfinals, the Thai duo delivered one more shutout – 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) against Japan’s Sayaka Mizoe and Suzuka Hashimoto, who had made it this far as the first-placed team in Pool A. Mizoe and Hashimoto were the only pool winners who did not manage to advance to the semis.
Ledoux and Stockman started their day directly from the quarterfinals, where they knocked out Japan’s Yukako Suzuki and Kaho Sakaguchi in what was the shortest match of the day – a 28-minute 2-0 (21-6, 21-16) straight-setter. Before that Suzuki and Sakaguchi had come back from a set down to master a 2-1 (10-21, 21-18, 15-11) upset of top-seeded Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee of Thailand.
In the day’s longest running clash, second-seeded Michelle Sharon Valiente Amarilla and Erika Sofia Mongelos Bobadilla of Paraguay and Spain’s Paula Soria Gutierrez and Maria Belen Carro Marquez de Acunya engaged in a 63-minute saga, in which all three sets went into overtime. Eventually, the European pair emerged victorious with a 2-1 (27-29, 22-20, 16-14) win. However, the Spaniards could not follow up with another success in the quarterfinals, where Dhita and Putu defeated them 2-0 (21-18, 21-12).
Mashkova and Tsimbalova hammered out a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) quarterfinal victory over USA’s Irene Pollock and Amanda Dowdy to complete the final four. Before that, the Americans had claimed a 2-1 (16-21, 21-18, 15-11) win against Japan’s Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori.
Tatyana Mashkova blocking Amanda Dowdy
On Wednesday, at 10.00 local time, Ledoux and Stockman will take on Dhita and Putu in the first semifinal at the Pak Bara Beach in Thailand. The second semifinal, between Mashkova and Tsimbalova and home favourites Numwong and Hongpak, is scheduled for an hour later. The third place game is at 14.00 and the gold medal match 16.00.