Qatar qualifies for the FIVB worlds; McHugh & Schumann overcome a big scare from Chinese rivals

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Top seeds and Olympians Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse of Qatar eliminated reigning Asian Games champions Alexandr Dyanchenko and Alexey Sidorenko comfortably in the quarter-finals of the AVC Beach Tour Aspire Qatar Master on Friday.

At the Aspire Park, Pereira and Younousse, the winner of the Satun Pak Bara Master in Thailand last month, sealed their place in the semi-finals with a 21-14 21-11 victory in 28 minutes. With this victory, both Pereira and Younousse booked their place in the FIVB Beach World Championships, to be held in Vienna in July-August.

They will take on New Zealand’s Tom Hartles and Michael Watson for a place in Saturday’s final. Hartles and Watson were more than a match for Indonesians Ramadhan Gilang and Pribadi Danangsyah, winning the contest by 21-17 21-15 in 34 minutes.

Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, the second seeds and third place winners in both the Satun Pak Bara Master and Asian Championships in Thailand, scaled the Chinese wall with a lot of difficulty.

McHugh and Schumann lost the opening set against Ha Likejiang and Bao Jian. They barely managed to hold off the rivals in the second set before clinching the tie-break set to complete a 17-21 25-23 15-10 triumph in 55 minutes.

The victory for the Australians set up the Asian championship semi-final rematch against Ade Candra Rachmawan and Mohammad Asfiya. The fifth-seeded Indonesians, who played the finals in both the AVC Beach Tour events last month and beaten the Australians in Songkhla, ousted Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Yakovlev and Sergey Bogatu in straight sets 21-19 21-12.

With the quarter-finals coming to an end, all the four pairs for the FIVB worlds were identified. Apart from Pereira and Younousse, McHugh and Schuman from Australia, Rachmawan and Asfiya from Indonesia and Raoufi and Salemiinjehboron from Iran would represent Asia in the championships.

Earlier, the draw for the last 16 stage meant only one of two remaining Qatari pairs would stay in the event. Pereira and Younousse knocked out teammates and third seeds Julio do Nascimento and Ahmed Tijan 21-18 21-13 in 29 minutes.
The defeat for the third seeds, who were fourth in both Satun Pak Bara Master and Asian Championships, spoilt their chances of qualifying for the FIVB World Championships.

Asia champions and fourth seeds Rahman Raoufi and Bahman Salemiinjehboron from Iran also suffered an earlier-than-expected exit. They were up against second seeds Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, who encountered a spirited challenge in the first set before scripting a 23-21 21-16 win in 37 minutes.

Other main contenders stayed on the course firmly with Indonesians Ade Cadra Rachmawan and Mohammad Asfiya winning against Japanese Junki and Hitoshi Murakami in straight sets.
Dyanchenko and Sidorenko advanced with a fighting 21-17 21-19 victory over Lebanese Joe El Azzi and Jean Abi Chedid in 32 minutes.

Chinese Ha Likejiang and Bao Jian struggled against their teammates Li Zhouxin and Zhao Chaowei. They dropped the first set but reorganised themselves to pull off a 19-21 21-14 15-10 triumph in 48 minutes.

Hartles and Watson and Indonesians Ramadhan Gilang and Pribadi Danagsyah extended their stay in the tournament with gritty three-set victories over their respective Australian and Hong Kong rivals.

Results

QUARTER-FINALS
McHugh/Schumann (AUS) beat Ha Likejiang/Bao J. (CHN) 17-21, 25-23, 15-10 (0:55)
Candra/Asfiya (INA) beat Yakovlev/Bogatu (KAZ) 21-19, 21-12 (0:37)
Watson/Hartles (NZL) beat Gilang/Danang (INA) 21-17, 21-15 (0:34)
Sidorenko/Dyachenko (KAZ) lost to Jefferson/Cherif (QAT) 14-21, 11-21 (0:28)

ROUND OF 16
McHugh/Schumann (AUS) beat R.Raoufi/B.Salemi (IRI) 23-21, 21-16 (0:37)
Ha Likejiang/Bao J. (CHN) beat Li Zhuoxin/Ch. W.Zhou (CHN) 19-21, 21-14, 15-10 (0:48)
Candra/Asfiya (INA) beat Hatabe/Murakami (JPN) 21-13, 29-27 (0:41)
A.Poursagari/A.Vakili (IRI) lost to Yakovlev/Bogatu (KAZ) 19-21, 21-16, 16-18 (0:56)
Watson/Hartles (NZL) beat Kelvin/Lam (HKG) 21-13, 20-22, 15-11 (0:51)
Gilang/Danang (INA) beat Durant/Schubert (AUS) 17-21, 22-20, 15-13 (0:53)
Sidorenko/Dyachenko (KAZ) beat Joe/Jean (LIB) 21-17, 21-19 (0:32)
Julio/Ahmed Tijan (QAT) lost to Jefferson/Cherif (QAT) 18-21, 13-21 (0:29)

Saturday’s fixtures

SEMI-FINALS
4 pm – McHugh/Schumann (AUS) vs Candra/Asfiya (INA)
5 pm – Watson/Hartles (NZL) vs Jefferson/Cherif (QAT)

8 pm – THIRD PLACE PLAYOFF
9 pm – FINAL