Sydney, Australia, November 25, 2017 – Teams from Australia, Austria, China and Japan made their way to the women’s semifinals at the Sydney two-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Home favourites Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy will face Austria’s Katharina Schuetzenhoefer and Lena Plesiutschnig, and second-seeded Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia from China will battle it out with Japan’s Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa, for the two spots in the gold medal final on Manly Beach.
Out of the 12 matches in Saturday’s two elimination rounds, only two were extended to three sets. In one of them, Schuetzenhoefer and Plesiutschnig toughed it out through 48 minutes of play to claim a 2-1 (22-20, 16-21, 15-20) victory over Latvia’s Anastasija Kravcenoka and Tina Graudina. In the quarterfinals, the Austrian duo had another hard match, but this time got the job done in two sets – 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) against USA’s Kimberly DiCello and Emily Stockman.
The top-seeded Australians Artacho del Solar and Clancy were quick to dismiss Slovenia’s Tjasa Jancar and Tjasa Kotnik with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-7) shutout in the round of 16 and went on to defeat the fourth-seeded Germans Behrens and Ittlinger by 2-0 (21-18, 21-15).
“With every game we are improving, we are getting stronger and that’s when we know that we are playing our best and we have the communication. Now we know that we can beat anyone. So we look forward to our next match,” said Taliqua Clancy.
China’s Wang and Xia went past two Japanese pairs on the way to the semifinals where they will have to make it three in a row. In the round of 16 they managed a 2-0 (21-14, 21-8) win against Ayumi Kusano and Takemi Nishibori and in the quarters they moved on with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) victory over Sayaka Mizoe and Suzuka Hashimoto, only to meet another Japanese duo in Sunday’s second semifinal - Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa.
Futami and Hasegawa started their competition day with a 2-0 (21-15, 23-21) win against USA’s Jace Pardon and Lara Dykstra and finished it with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) victory over Louise Bawden and Jessyka Ngauamo, the third-seeded Australians who had persevered through the longest running match of the day earlier – a 54-minute 2-1 (21-19, 13-21, 15-10) three-setter against Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Tanarattha Udomchavee.
Akiko Hasegawa has many reasons to smile on Manly Beach
The two women’s semifinals on Sunday, starting at 10:00 and 11:00 local time, as well as the third place match and the gold medal final, starting at 14:00 and 15:00, respectively, will be streamed live on the FIVB’s YouTube channel