Shepparton, Australia, February 1, 2018 – As many as three Japanese teams emerged victorious from the women’s qualifications at the Shepparton one-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The fourth available spot in Friday’s main draw went to a pair from the Netherlands.
All but one of these four duos made it through the qualifications with two straight-set victories apiece. Yukako Suzuki and Kaho Sakaguchi were the only ones with a bye in the first round. In the second, they defeated Mariota Angelopoulou and Daria Gusarova from Cyprus by 2-0 (21-17, 21-13).
Chiyo Suzuki and Reika Murakami were quick to dismiss Denmark’s Emilie Glad Bak and Laerke Mygind Gronfeldt with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-9) shutout, after which they had to meet the top-seeded pair in the qualification tournament - Loti Joe and Sherysyn Toko from Vanuatu. The Japanese side did not face any serious issues in that encounter and cruised to a 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) win.
The third Japanese team, Yui Nagata and Minori Kumada, secured a spot in the main draw with a 2-0 (21-10, 21-11) victory over Denmark’s Sara Stief and Frederikke Schade Jensen and a hard-earned 40-minute 2-0 (23-21, 23-21) win against second-seeded Italians Gaia Traballi and Agata Zuccarelli in what was the longest running match of the day.
Tense moment in the battle between Japan and Italy
Avoiding any face-to-face encounters with pairs from Japan, Netherlands’ Katja Stam and Julia Wouters made the main draw after claiming a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) victory over Australia’s Aimee Coleman and Tiaan Smith and a 2-0 (21-11, 21-15) shutout of Hong Kong’s Wai Yan Au Yeung and Ting Chi Yuen.