BPT Challenge Torquay Women - CHNvsJPN-8

China’s Xia Xinyi in action

The pool stage of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Torquay Challenge women’s main draw was completed on Thursday, with 18 of 24 teams advancing to Friday’s knockouts. The first place in all-Asian Pool C came down to an all-Chinese decider, in which third-seeded Xia Xinyi and Lin MeiMei mastered an emphatic 2-0 (21-15, 21-8) sweep of compatriots Yuan Lvwen and Dong Jie.

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The two Chinese pairs shut out Japan’s Keiko Urata and Miharu Kashihara by 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) and Thailand’s Varapatsorn Radarong and Charanrutwadee Patcharamainaruebhorn by 2-0 (21-17, 21-12), respectively. In the only women’s three-setter of the day, the Thai duo persevered through an extended tie-breaker to snatch a 2-1 (14-21, 21-17, 17-15) comeback victory over Urata and Miharu and take third place in the pool to remain in contention.

Xia & Lin vs Yuan & Dong: match highlights

Another Chinese team, seventh-seeded Zeng Jinjin and Wang Xinxin outplayed the host country’s highest seeded team in the Pool F decider. They claimed a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) victory over number six team Alisha Stevens and Nicole Laird. Before that, the Chinese beat Canada’s Amanda Harnett and Marie-Alex Belanger by 2-0 (21-10, 21-17), while the Australians defeated Japan’s Kana Motomura and Harumi Sakai by a narrow 2-0 (21-19, 21-19). To claim third place and continue their path in the competition, Motomura and Sakai came out on the winning end of a deeply extended second set against the Canadians to celebrate with a tight 2-0 (21-19, 28-26) win.

Meanwhile, qualifiers Helena Havelkova and Marketa Slukova, seeded 14th in the main draw, upset second-seeded Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft. In the match for the first place in Pool B, the Czech stars hammered out a solid 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) straight-setter over their American opponents. Earlier on Thursday, Havelkova and Slukova managed a 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) clean slate against Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Wachowicz, while Stockman and Kraft delivered a 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) shutout of Australia’s Stefanie Fejes and Rebecca Ingram. The battle for survival went the Poles’ way as they claimed a 2-0 (21-12, 21-17) win over the Aussies.

BPT Challenge Torquay Men - USAvsCZE-17

Slukova & Havelkova celebrate their win over Stockman & Kraft

Number four in the bracket, Tjasa Kotnik and Tajda Lovsin lived up to their seeding and topped the Pool D standings after a 2-0 (21-8, 21-16) over Japan’s Erika Habaguchi and Saki Maruyama, followed up by 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) over Australia’s Georgia Johnson and Jasmine Fleming. China’s Zhu Lingdi and Wang Fan, who had lost to the home team by a narrow 2-0 (21-19, 21-19), recovered with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) win over Habaguchi and Maruyama to take the third place.

In Pool E, New Zealand’s Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley, seeded eighth, upset fifth-seeded Akiko Hasegawa and Yurika Sakaguchi of Japan in the winners match. After opening their campaign with a 2-0 (21-8, 21-17) victory over another Japanese duo, Sakurako Fujii and Megumi Murakami, the Kiwis claimed a 2-0 (21-10, 21-19) win over Akiko and Yurika to top the pool standings. Another Australian pair, Brittany Kendall and Caitlin Bettenay, who lost their first main draw game to Akiko and Yurika by 2-0 (21-18, 21-17), got back at their compatriots with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-17) to progress in the competition.

BPT Challenge Torquay Women - JPNvsNZL-15

Great save by Shaunna Polley

Pool A was the last to determine its winners. Top-seeded Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng of the United States faced few issues against Canada’s Darby Dunn and Olivia Grace Furlan to advance to the winners match after a 2-0 (21-9, 21-10) shutout. The same was true against Japan’s Ren Matsumoto and Non Matsumoto as they mastered a 2-0 (21-12, 21-11) victory. Ren and Non had first claimed a 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) win over Vanuatu’s Majabelle Lawac and Sherysyn Toko. The bottom-seeded Canadian qualifiers went on to beat Lawac and Toko by 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) to finish third.

The women’s programme on Friday includes the two matches of the round of 18 and the eight games of the round of 16.