Rahman Raoufi and Abolhamed Mirzaali celebrate a point on day 1 at the Pak Bara Beach
Satun, Thailand, April 9, 2018 – Two Iranian teams found their place among the four pairs that managed to advance directly to the men’s quarterfinals of the SMM Pak Bara Beach Satun one-star stop on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Rahman Raoufi remained focused on his 40th birthday to claim a couple of straight-set victories alongside partner Abolhamed Mirzaali and top the standings in Pool D.
In addition to the fourth-seeded Iranians Raoufi and Mirzaali, third-seeded Arash Vakili and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun, also from Iran, second-seeded Ade Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya from Indonesia and eighth-seeded Zachery Schubert and Tim Dickson from Australia emerged as pool winners to progress straight into the second knockout round.
Raoufi and Mirzaali reigned supreme in Pool D, mastering a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) shutout of Thailand’s Kitti Duangjinda and Narongdet Kangkon in their first match and a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) win against Japan’s Katsuhiro Shiratori and Yuya Ageba in the pool’s winners’ game. Indonesia’s Gilang Ramadhan and Danangsyah Pribadi, seeded in #5, took the third place in the pool with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) victory over Kitti and Kangkon and qualified for the first single elimination round.
The other Iranian duo in the Satun main draw, Vakili and Salemi, also dominated their Pool C by claiming two straight-set victories. They started off with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) win against Thai wildcards Patiphan Chambuntha and Dunwinit Kaewsai and followed up with a 2-0 (21-14, 24-22) win against Japan’s Takumi Takahashi and Yusuke Ishijima. In this pool, the third place went to the home pair as Patiphan and Dunwinit managed a 52-minute 2-1 (21-13, 16-21, 15-13) victory over Sweden’s Martin Appelgren and Simon Boman in the day’s longest running match.
Schubert and Dickson also managed to win their Pool A without dropping a set. They mastered a 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) win against Slovenia’s Danijel Pokersnik and Tadej Bozenk and they went on to deliver a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) upset of top-seeded home favourites Nuttanon Inkiew and Sedtawat Padsawud of Thailand. Pokersnik and Bozenk made the knockout stage of the tournament after a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) victory over Japanese wildcards Koichi Nishimura and Yu Koshikawa in the pool’s third place match.
Indonesia’s Candra and Ashfiya had to deal with a couple of European pairs in Pool B. First they defeated Spain’s Raul Mesa and Christian Garcia in straight sets – 2-0 (21-16, 21-18), but then Austria’s Peter Eglseer and Alexander Huber made them work hard for their 2-1 (21-16, 16-21, 15-10) tie-break victory. To keep the home crowd happy, Thailand’s Surin Jongklang and Adisorn Khaolumtarn stayed alive in the competition after a 2-0 (23-21, 21-13) win against the Spaniards in the pool’s third place game.
Ade Rachmawan (Candra) spikes past Raul Mesa’s block
Men’s main draw action at the Pak Bara Beach will resume on Tuesday at 10:40 local time with the first single elimination round, which will determine the remaining four participants in the afternoon’s quarterfinals.