• Jamal Vira (VASANOC)

Vanuatu beat undefeated Australia to reach women’s beach volleyball semis

Vanuatu’s women’s pair stole the attention on the fourth day of beach volleyball at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games defeating previously unbeaten Australia to qualify for Friday’s semi-finals.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Miller Pata, paired with Vanuatu youngster Sherysyn Toko, came out on top in a hard-fought contest against Australia’s Britt Kendall and Stef Weiler, winning 21-13, 21-16 at Apia Waterfront.

“Australia was the strongest team that we had to play here at these Games, and today we have defeated them,” said a delighted Pata. “We are very happy and proud like everyone else who today made it into the semi-finals.”

There was better news for Australia’s men’s pair of Marcus Ferguson and Tim Dickson, who knocked out defending champions PNG to reach the semi-finals.

PNG’s Richard Batar and Loi Walo, a different pair to the gold medalists at the Port Moresby 2015 XV Pacific Games, struggled to match the Australians and lost in straight sets 21-9, 20-15.

"We were a bit nervous coming to the Games and competing against these teams for the first time,” admitted Dickson. “All these matches have been very tough.”

American Samoa’s Sigalu Aitui and Tauvela Fagaima beat Tuvalu 22-20, 19-21, 15-13.

"We’re super excited to reach the semi-finals tomorrow and I would like to thank all the fans for their support throughout our matches," said Aitui.

In the other men’s quarter finals, Tahiti beat Samoa 25-23, 21-18 and Tonga beat Kiribati 21-11, 17-21, 15-13.

Friday’s men’s semi-finals will match American Samoa against Australia, and Tonga against Tahiti.

The women’s semi-finals will pit Solomon Islands against Tahiti, while Vanuatu will take on American Samoa, the reigning champions.

Winners will progress to the gold medal matches and losers to the bronze medal matches, which will take place on Friday afternoon.

The action begins at 9.45am at Apia Waterfront and entry is free.

Source: Samoa 2019

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