Qatar’s experienced Olympian pair of Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younnouse qualified for the final of the second Satun Pak Bara Master 2017, the opening leg of the AVC Beach Tour, with their gritty comeback victory.
In Satun, Thailand, on Monday, Pereira and Younnouse lost the opening set in closing stages. But they staged a brave recovery, using their long experience and growing mutual understanding, to oust Australian Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann in three sets.
The return of Pereira and Younnouse, who played in the prequarter-finals of the Rio Olympic Games, began in the second set which they clinched easily to rattle the rivals. They then continued their push and completed their 18-21 21-13 15-8 victory in 44 minutes.
It could have been an all-Qatar final. However, Indonesians Ade Candra Rachmawan and Mohammad Ashfiya eliminated top seeds Julio do Nascimento and Ahmed Tijan in straight sets in other semi-final clash.
Rachmawan and Ashfiya took 35 minutes to subdue the Qatari duo by 21-15 21-15.
Earlier in the tournament, Pereira and Younnouse topped their group unbeaten. They extended their good run, scalping Japanese Kurasaka and Hasegawa 2-0 to advance to the last eight stage. They proved too strong for local challengers Nuttanon and Sedtawat 21-8 21-15 to storm into the semi-finals.
Nascimento and Tijan dropped a match in the pool league but bounced back superbly to qualify for the knock-out stage. They faced a big threat in Kazakh pair 2014 Asian Games winners and last year’s runners-up Alexander Dyachenko and Alexey Sidorenko.
After disposing of the Kazakh pair, they knocked out Australians Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert in straight sets to move into the semi-finals.
Results – Semi-finals
* Jefferson Santos Pereira & Cherif Younnouse (Qatar) beat McHugh/Schumann (Australia) 18-21 21-13 15-8 (44 mts)
* Candra/Ashfiya (Indonesia) beat Julio do Nascimento/Ahmed Tijan (Qatar) 21-15 21-15 (35 mts)