ISTAF superseries 2013/14 THAILAND WIN BUT MADE TO SLOG Defending champions retain title but drop first ISTAF SuperSeries set

          Women’s defending champions Thailand won the ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 title after defeating Indonesia 15-10, 17-15, 15-3, 15-8, but not without losing their first ever ISTAF SuperSeries set.
The top seeds, who won all tournaments at ISTAF SuperSeries 2011/12 without dropping a set, saw their perfect record go to pieces in their second set here at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex despite using all five of their players to prevent their loss to the unseeded Indonesians.
          Led by super striker Mega Chita, who fired in 22 winners during the match, the Indonesian regu forced the Thais to fight for every point from 6-6 in the second set, and then added salt to the injury by reaching gamepoint first. An error by Chita saw Thailand go one up, but superb play by the diminutive striker saw the Indonesians level the score and take the remaining points to win.
          The Thais, who were also made to work to win their first set, came back a different side after the break. Daranee Wongcharern caught fire in the third and led the Thai charge as they went 2-1 up and then scored 10 consecutive points before allowing their opponents two consolation points and wrapping things up. The Indonesians came back strong in the fourth, taking a 4-1 lead after two consecutive service errors by Mahakusol only to see the Thais accelerate to gamepoint and then win the match.
          “The team did not play well in the first two sets as they were not in control,” said coach Veeras Nanongkhai. “They were also affected by the noise of the crowd, and the Indonesians took advantage of this to great effect.”
          In the match for third-fourth place, second seeds Vietnam defeated third seeds Malaysia 15-7, 15-8, 15-7. Korea finished in fifth place while Japan, who defeated India 14-16, 12-15, 13-15, 13-15 in the 5th/7th playoff, closed sixth. In the playoff for 6th/7th place, India racked up their fifth consecutive loss, going out 15-5, 15-9, 15-6 to South Korea to close their campaign in last place.
          In the men’s competition, second seeds Malaysia went down 10-15, 11-15, 10-15 to South Korea in the ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 final. Playing a near-perfect game, the third seeds led from the start and helped by numerous errors by Malaysia, earned their first SuperSeries title.
          Favourites and top seeds Thailand, who suffered a shock defeat to South Korea in the quarter-finals, made slight amends by easily defeating Iran 15-5, 15-4, 15-4 to finish fifth in the tournament. In the 7th/8th playoff match, Japan defeated Singapore 14-16, 15-8, 15-8, 15-12 while the United States ended last in the 10-team men’s competition after losing 8-15, 15-10, 15-11, 6-15, 12-15 to Brunei.
          ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14, which ended September 1, kicks-off this year’s ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 season. The New Delhi tournament is followed by ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 in Bangkok from September 26-29 followed by ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from October 31 to November 3.
          Held for the first time in India and the first time outside Southeast Asia, ISTAF SuperSeries is created by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) and supported by local organisers Sepaktakraw Federation of India (STFI).

Final results:
Men’s
Final - South Korea bt Malaysia 3-0 (10-15, 11-15, 10-15)
3-4th placing - Indonesia bt India 3-0 (15-12, 15-10,15-12)
5/6 placing - Thailand bt Iran 3-0 (15-5, 15-4, 15-3)
7/8 placing - Japan by Singapore 3-1 (14-16, 15-8, 15-8, 15-12)
9/10 placing - Brunei bt the United States 3-2 (8-15, 15-10, 15-11, 6-15, 12-15)

Women’s
Final – Thailand bt Indonesia 3-1 (15-10, 17-15, 15-3, 15-8)
3-4 placing - Vietnam bt Malaysia 3-0 (15-7, 15-8, 15-7)
5/7th placing - South Korea bt India 3-0 (15-5, 15-9, 15-6); Japan bt India 3-1 14-16, 12-15, 13-15, 13-15