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#FIVBBVMAS | Cubans Stole Show in Round of 16 and Quarterfinals

LANGKAWI, 15 APRIL 2017 – The inaugural 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour – Malaysia Open witnessed a heated battle under a 33 degree Celsius sunshine on the picturesque beach of Pantai Cenang.


Eight teams from each gender including the last standing Malaysian team led by Mohd Faiz Putra Abd Razak and teammate Mohamad Ammirol Mat Sidek fought a hard battle to secure a spot in the semifinals tomorrow.


In the end, Cuba, Estonia, Serbia and Austria will compete in the men’s semi-finals, while the women’s will be represented by players from two Austrian teams, Czech Republic and the United States of America.


Round of 16 Highlights – Men’s Teams

The tournament’s debut in ASEAN kicked-off with a show stopping performance by Cuban Olympians Diaz Gomez Nivaldo Nadir and Sergio Reynaldo Gonzalez Bayard against American Olympian David McKienzie and Andrew Dentler.


McKienzie/Dentler were forced to accept defeat with a 21-16, 21-15 scoreline.


Malaysia’s Ahmad Shafwan bin Ahmad Zulkifli and Idris Muhamad Afiq Solihin’s debut game in the world tour posted great threats to Spain’s Raul Mesa and Christian Garcia. The longest game on tournament morning witnessed a strong defence from the Malaysian pair, with a solid spike to earn their 15th point in the 15th minute into the game to close their gap with the eighth seed Spaniards.


“I think that Idris is a great partner. We were always competitors, and we are pleased to be playing together in this tournament. Being new, we had miscommunications in between, but I think we played a great game. We will improve and return to compete again,” said Ahmad Shafwan.


Sole Malaysian team quarterfinal qualifier Mohd Faiz Putra Abd Razak and Rafi Asruki Nordin won against home team Lee Boon Kiat and Tay Chien Bin. Abd Razak/Rafi will face the Estonian team Mart Tiisaar and Kusti Nolvak who crushed another home team led by former national volleyball captain Elangovan Yogeswaran and Mohamad Ammirol Mat Sidek with an easy win of 21-8, 21-7.


“It was a relatively easy match because we were in our best form. The serves and spikes went well, and we are confident to continue our winning momentum in this afternoon’s quarterfinals,” said Kusti.


Round of 16 Highlights – Women’s Teams

The women’s game started fairly slow with Malaysian pair Yew Sook Ting and Dawn Lynn, playing a steady game against first seed twin sisters, Nadine Strauss and Teresa Strauss. The Strauss sisters won 21-9, 21-11.


Malaysia’s highly anticipated ace Luk Teck Hua and Elaine Lee Geok Ting struggled to synchronise during the two-set games and only found their ground when the opponent scored a solid 11 points. The duo faced a 21-11, 21-11 defeat against Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnevora and Sarka Nakladalova.


“This is our first time pairing for a tournament, and this has been a great exposure for budding athletes like Elaine,” said Luk.


Germany’s Katarina Schillerwein and Cinja Tillmann, and Romania’s Adriana-Maria Matei and Beata Vaida played a match that can be dubbed as the best games in the Round of 16 with the day’s first 3-set match. The Romanians marginally lost to the German top pair with a 21-23, 21-15, 15-13.


“We made many mistakes during the first set, and it is just crazy to play a 3-set match under the hot sun,” giggled Katarina after the match. Cinja added that Matei and Vaida were very competitive and that she is looking forward to the quarterfinals in the evening.


Quarterfinal Highlights – Men’s Teams

It was a challenging day for the Cubans but Nivaldo/Gonzalez spiked through to the quarterfinals after defeating the American team, McKienzie/Dentler.


Spain’s Mesa/Garcia moved on to battle the Cuban team with a solid defence and offence playing style, tailing the Nivaldo/Gonzalez closely with a point behind. The intense fight showed a powerful physical and mental competition, creating an adrenaline-rushed environment for the spectators. In the end, the Cuban duo stole the semi-final spot with a result of 21-18, 21-18.


“It was a difficult match today, but the hot weather did not bother our game as it is similar to Cuba’s. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s match and hopefully taking home the world tour title,” said Nivaldo.


Another noteworthy match was between Estonia’s Tiisar/Nolvak and Malaysia’s Abd Razak/Rafi. The Malaysians’ debut this season shocked the audience with a world-class play that pressed the Estonia team with a close 23-21 in the first set. However, luck ran out for the Malaysian pair when Rafi injured himself during the match, giving away the golden ticket to Tiisar/Nolvak for the semi-finals.


Mohd Faiz Putra Abd Razak expressed his disappointment but accepted his fate. “I have always looked forward to the tournament, but I think that an injury is unavoidable at times. We have tried our best, and I hope that Malaysians will continue to support and expand beach volleyball in Malaysia.”


Quarterfinal Highlights – Women’s Teams

The women’s teams played an outstanding match today, with most of the rubber sets happened in the women’s team.


Austria’s Strauss sisters and Switzerland’s Nicole Eiholzer and Dunja Gerson competed in a life or death battle when both teams were unwilling to give up their opportunity to secure a spot in the semi-finals.


However, the Swiss team continued making errors, giving Austria the chance to lead by 6 points before the first technical timeout of the game.


Austria continued to attack the Swiss pair until match point but lost concentration and allowed Eiholzer/Gerson to close the gap by four points to a 20-19 score. However, before the match moved into a deuce, the Strauss sisters sealed their way to the next round.


“We stayed back to observe our semifinal competitor, and hope that we will learn a few things and use it to our advantage tomorrow,” said Nadine Strauss.


The final game of the evening between Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Brittany Kendall against United States’ Stockman/Dicello presented a stunning closure for the day with a 3-set match that lasted almost an hour. Eventually, the Americans took the final semifinal spot with a 15-21, 21-18, 14-16 scoreline.


“It was a tough match and the match could have gone either way,” stated Dicello. When asked about her expectation on her next game, she said “I just want my team to play our best beach volleyball and go from there.”


Semifinals will begin at 0900 hours (+8:00GMT) and finals will take place at 1400 hours (+8:00GMT) on Sunday, 16 April 2017.


For more information, follow us on Facebook FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour – Malaysia Open, Instagram @fivbbeachvolleyball.malaysia and Twitter @eplus_global


The 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour – Malaysia Open is promoted and organised by E-Plus Global Sdn Bhd, sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball and Malaysia Volleyball Association; and supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia), Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Majlis Bandaraya Pelancongan Langkawi, Majlis Daerah Langkawi, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa and Aseania Langkawi Resort & Spa, Astro Arena HD, Coca-Cola, Uber, SunPlay, Malay Mail, and Lifestyle Chiropractic.



Round of 16

MEN’S TEAM SET Results Per Set
1 2 3
Nivaldo/Gonzalez (CUB) – McKienzie/Dentler (USA) 2-0 21-16 21-15
Ahmad Shafwan/Idris (MAS) – Mesa/Garcia (ESP) 0-2 15-21 12-21
Tiisaar/Nolvak (EST) – Yogeswaran/Mat Sidek (MAS) 2-0 21-8 21-7
Lee/Tay (MAS) – Abd Razak/Rafi (MAS) 0-2 14-21 11-21
Poniewaz B./Poniewaz D. (GER) –

Amir Farid/Mahadi (MAS)

2-0 21-12 21-10
Yaw Cheong/Wei Shen (MAS) – Kolaric/Klasnic (SRB) 0-2 5-21 6-21
Schnetzer/Eglseer (AUT) – Naidoo/Williams (RSA) 2-0 21-16 21-18
Dumek/Lenc (CZE) –

Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg (AUT)

1-2 11-21 21-19 11-15

WOMEN’S TEAM SET Results Per Set
1 2 3
Strauss N./Strauss T. (AUT) –

Yew S.T./Dawn Lynn (MAS)

2-0 21-9 21-11
Chou Hwa/Aishuria (MAS) – Eiholzer/Gerson (SUI) 0-2 8-21 8-21
Abalakina/Dabizha (RUS) – Beattie/Coutts (SCO) 2-0 21-10 21-19
Bonnerova/Nakladalova (CZE) –

Teck Hua/Elaine L (MAS)

2-0 21-11 21-11
Rimser/Plesiutschnig (AUT) – Martha/Nur Atika (INA) 2-0 21-14 21-7
Schillerwein/Tillmann (GER) – Matei/Vaida (ROU) 2-1 21-23 21-15 15-13
Artacho Del Solar/Kendall (AUS) –

Polly Sim/Shu Woon (MAS)

2-0 21-7 21-7
Miyagawa/Murakami (JPN) – Stockman/Dicello (USA) 1-2 17-21 21-12 9-15


MEN’S TEAM SET Results Per Set
1 2 3
Nivaldo/Gonzalez (CUB) – Mesa/Garcia (ESP) 2-0 21-18 21-18
Tiisar/Nolvak (EST) – Abd Razak/Rafi (MAS) 2-0 Forfeit of Team B
Poniewaz B./Poniewaz D. (GER) –

Kolaric/Klasnic (SRB)

0-2 19-21 18-21
Schnetzer/Eglseer (AUT) –

Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg (AUT)

2-1 22-20 10-21 16-14


WOMEN’S TEAM SET Results Per Set
1 2 3
Strauss N./Strauss T. (AUT) – Eiholzer/Gerson (SUI) 2-1 21-19 13-21 15-10
Abalakina/Dabizha (RUS) –

Bonnerova/Nakladalova (CZE)

0-2 19-21 17-21
Rimser/Plesiutschnig (AUT) –

Schillerwein/Tillmann (GER)

2-0 21-11 21-19
Artacho Del Solar/Kendall (AUS) –

Stockman/Dicello (USA)

1-2 15-21 21-18 14-16