Sentosa, Singapore, June 21, 2018 - Two teams each from Canada and Japan won two qualifying matches each here Thursday to lead 12 men’s and women’s pairs from 10 countries in advancing to the Main Draw rounds at the US$50,000 Singapore Open presented by Neo Group.
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Six teams advanced from each gender’s qualifier Thursday to set the field for Friday’s “money” rounds featuring pool play. Saturday’s schedule features two rounds of elimination play to set the line-up for Sunday’s “final four” matches where the winning teams will share the $4,000 first-place prizes.
With the FIVB staging only its second World Tour event in this Asian country in the 32-season history of the international Beach Volleyball circuit, both Canadian qualifiers were from the women’s competition while the Japanese had a qualifier in both genders highlighted by Yoshiumi Hasegawa/Keisuke Shimizu upset of the No. 1-seeded men’s team from Germany.
Seeded 12th in the 23-team men’s qualifier, Hasegawa and Shimizu opened play Thursday with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 16-14) win in 64 minutes over 13th-seeded Japanese rival Yu Koshikawa/Koichi Nishimura before eliminating top-seeded Max Betzien/Jonathan Erdmann of Germany 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 16-14) in 61 minutes to advance to the Singapore Open “money” rounds.
However, the Japanese did suffer an unexpected setback as their No. 1-seeded women’s team of Minori Kumada/Yui Nagata dropped a 2-0 (21-13, 26-24) decision in 33 minutes to 12th-seeded Arianna Barboni/Silvia Costantini of Italy in the final round of qualifying Thursday on Silso Beach in Sentosa. The Italians had finished 19th and 25th in the last two FIVB World Tour stops in China while Kumada and Nagata were a silver medal finisher this season in Viet Nam with ninths the past two weeks in Nantong and Nanjing.
Canadian women’s qualifiers were 11th-seeded Caleigh Cruickshank/Megan Nagy and the 20th-seeded McNamara twins (Megan and Nicole). Cruickshank and Nagy advanced to the Main Draw by defeating second-seeded Noy Chorin/Sofia Starikov of Israel 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-12) in 47 minutes.
The McNamaras, silver medal finishers at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, earned a berth in the “money” rounds with a 2-0 (21-13, 21-10) victory in 29 minutes over eighth-seeded Pronsuda Kritsana/Yodsaphat Pakham of Thailand. Collegiate all-Americans from UCLA, the Canadian twin sisters are competing in their second FIVB World Tour event after placing fourth in their debut last month in Bangkok, Thailand.
Other qualifying women’s pairs were third-seeded Nai-Han Kou/Pi Hsin Liu of Chinese Taipei, fourth-seeded Alise Lece/Ilze Liepinlauska of Latvia and sixth-seeded Kaho Sakaguchi/Yukako Suzuki of Japan. Other men qualifiers were second-seeded Surin Jongklang/Adisorn Khaolumtarn of Thailand, fifth-seeded Martin Appelgren/Simon Boman of Sweden, seventh-seeded Aleksandr Kramarenko/Taras Myskiv of Russia, 15th-seeded Marcio Guadie/Arthur Mariano of Brazil and 16th-seeded Nouh Al-Jalbubi/Mazin Alhashmi of Oman.
The Singapore Open is one of three FIVB World Tour events being staged this week with qualifying play being played Wednesday in Turkey (Manavgat) and the Czech Republic (Ostrava). Entering this week’s play, the FIVB had staged 25 men’s and 24 women’s World tour events so far on the 2017-2018 international calendar.