Saturday, April 24, 2010

Indonesian men triumph, but women drop out in the semifinals

Matheos Viktor Messakh
The Jakarta Post/Batam

Indonesian men’s pair Koko Prasetyo and Andy Ardiyansah came back from one-set down to beat Reza Assari Naeni and Rahman Raoufi of Iran in the rain-affected final on Saturday to win the trophy at the inaugural Asia-Pacific Beach Volley Ball Tournament in Batam.
In the first set, Koko and Andy had little to offer and surrendered 14-21, but started to find form at the beginning of the second set to lead 9-5 before rain temporarily stopped the match. The Indonesian duo maintained the high tempo when the game resumed 10 minutes later and capped the set 21-8.
Using the momentum, Koko and Andy led in the third set from the start to complete a comeback and win the set 21-15.
“In the first set, we tried normal serves, but it seemed like they had no difficulty receiving. Then we decided to use jump serves and it held back their attacks, helping us gain crucial points. From that point on, we knew their defense was the weak spot,” Koko said after the match.
Andy said that they had faced the Iranian pair several times before, and that they had improved a lot.
“Iran has at least three good teams and this is one of them.”
Although Koko and Andy admitted that while the rain played a part in their win, it was their more aggressive strategy that helped seal victory.
“The rain interruption allowed us to regain our strength, but without the change in strategy, the rain would not have helped,” Andy said.
The pair picked up US$3,000 in prize money while the Iran duo bagged $2,250.
“Andy and Koko are good all-round. We tried our best with our spikes and serves, but most of the time they managed to answer,” Reza said.
He added that the rain was not unexpected and had little effect on the match. “In beach volleyball, we have to be prepared for rain. It’s different if you play indoors,” he said.
Koko and Andy advanced to the final after defeating Rafi Asruki Bin Nordin and Khoo Chong Long of Malaysia 21-18, 21-15 in the semifinals earlier in the day, while the Irans ousted New Zealand siblings Sam and Ben O’Dea 21-18, 21-18 in the other semifinal.
In the battle for third, the O’Deas defeated the Malaysians 21-15, 21-18.
In the women’s division, Indonesians Ayu Cahyaningsiam and Efa Sri Susilowati were stopped by Irina Tsimbalova and Mashakova Tatyana of Kazakhstan. The visitors needed only 40 minutes to book a place in the final with an emphatic 21-16, 21-16 beatdown.
Later in the day, Ayu and Efa also lost to Julalak Radarong and Meneerat Udomcahvee of Thailand in the match for third place.
“We are grateful that we reached the semifinals. The Thais are quite good because they focus on beach volleyball, while Efa and I play professionally in the Proliga [Indonesia’s indoor volleyball league],” Ayu told The Jakarta Post.
With their fourth-place finish, Ayu and Efa took home $1350.
In the women’s final, the Kazakhs stole victory from a Japanese duo.
“We are very happy. This is our first win in an international tournament. We started playing as a pair this year and have participated in four international tournaments and this is our best result,” 22-year-old Mashakova said.
They take home $3,000 in prize money.
Sam O’Dea and Tsimbalova were also chosen as the best players of the tournament.

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