Japan's Kaho Sakaguchi (facing) in action at the net
Ulsan, Korea, July 20, 2018 – Pool play action at the Ulsan women-only one-star stop on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was completed on Friday with two pairs from Japan, one from Chinese Taipei and one from Thailand topping the pool standings and advancing directly to the quarterfinals.
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14th-seeded Miyuki Matsumura and Samaa Miyagawa of Japan surfaced from Pool C, where they mastered a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) victory over Russia’s Valeria Filkova and Ekaterina Filina, seeded 11th, in the winners’ match.
The lowest seeded pool winners Miyuki and Miyagawa in action against the Russians
Second-seeded Yukako Suzuki and Kaho Sakaguchi, also of Japan, won two straight-set matches on Friday to claim the first place in Pool B. They started their day with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-9) win over Korea’s Hana Kim and Youngju Lee. In the duel for the top, the Japanese team outplayed their compatriots Shinako Tanaka and Sakurako Fujii to hammer out a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) victory.
Nai-Han Kou and Pi Hsin Liu of Chinese Taipei, the top-seeded team in the Ulsan main draw, also managed two straight-set wins in their Pool A – 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) over the fourth participating Japanese duo, Hiroko Matsuyama and Marie Wada, and a 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) over Julia Wouters and Pleun Ypma of the Netherlands.
Matsuyama attacks in the match against Kou and Liu
In the winners’ showdown in Pool D, fifth-seeded Pronsuda Kritsana and Yodsaphat Pakham of Thailand delivered a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) shutout of Canada’s Rian Lenarduzzi and Laura Condotta.
A total of eight pairs, placed second or third in their pools, advanced to the first round of elimination on Saturday, from which the remaining four quarterfinalists will emerge. These eight teams represent eight different nations - Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Russia and Thailand.