Langkawi, Malaysia, March 13, 2020 - Yurika Sakaguchi and Chiyo Suzuki extended their FIVB World Tour winning streak to eight-straight matches as the top-seeded Japanese pair paced the eight group winners here Friday at the US$10,000 international beach volleyball event for men and women.
Sakaguchi and Suzuki were one of three Japanese women's teams to win pool titles on Friday along with Katja Metsakoivu/Tuuli Metsakoivu of Finland and Tzu-Yi Pan/Ya-Hsuan Yu of Chinese Taipei. Men's pairs from Canada, the Netherlands and Thailand captured the men's pool titles to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals with 2-0 match marks.
The winning streak for Sakaguchi and Suzuki started on February 9 in Cambodia where the Japanese pair captured the FIVB World Tour bronze medal at Siem Reap. Last week in Guam, Sakaguchi and Suzuki added to their success string with five more match victories highlighted by a gold medal win over Kimberly Hildreth/Sarah Schermerhorn of the United States.
During the winning streak, Sakaguchi and Suzuki have lost only one of 17 sets as the Japanese tandem has now compiled a 13-4 record after starting the 2019-2020 season by winning only one in four matches.
Other Japanese pairs topping their groups Friday were third-seeded Satono Ishitsubo/Asami Shiba (Pool C). And seventh-seeded qualifiers Reika Murakami/Kaho Sakaguchi (Pool B). The fourth women's group victor on Friday were fourth-seeded Tzu-Yi Pan/Ya-Hsuan Yu Chinese Taipei.
In the men's competition, two of the top four-seeded pairs - No. 1 Ya-Jen Hsieh/Chin-Ju Wang of Chinese Taipei and No. 3 Dirk Boehle / Stefan Boermans of the Netherlands - claimed titles as expected. Making seed-break-throughs were seventh-seeded Dunwinit Kaewsai/Prathip Sukto of Thailand and 13th-seeded Liam Kopp/Alexander Russell of Canada, who also won two matches on Thursday in the Langkawi qualifier.
Saturday's men's and women's schedule features two rounds of elimination to set the field for Sunday's semifinals and medal matches.