Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan defeated Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger of Switzerland 21-15, 16-21, 15-10 to enter the knockout round of the FIVB World Tour Katara Beach Volleyball Cup yesterday.
Younousse and Tijan lost their opener against Ryan Doherty and William Allen 18-21, 21-17, 15-8, but they came back strongly to beat the Swiss pair and progress to the next round as the third team from Pool H.
While Doherty and Allen won the group to directly book their place in the last 16, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands finished second and, like the Qataris, will have to play another round for a pre-quarter-final berth.
Younousse and Tijan clinched the opening set against American qualifiers Billy Allen and Ryan Doherty but could not sustain the momentum and were upset in three sets. The Qataris however lifted their game superbly in the group losers’ match against qualifiers Beeler and Krattiger and posted a fine victory in 47 minutes to enter the next stage.
This was the first meeting between the two pairs on the Tour.
“We’re a new team, while most of other teams have been playing together for a long time. Many of the top pairs in the world are competing here so no match is going to be easy, but we’re delighted to get through the group” Younousse said.
“We’re very happy with our first win in the tournament and it is a big step for us. We had poor service in the first match in the morning. Also we made other mistakes and lost the first game. The level of this event is very high in general. We’re relieved and will focus on the next match,” he said.
Talking about his partner Tijan, Younousse said, “He is complimenting me very well. He is reading the game nicely and defending strongly. We feel we have the potential to become a very strong team in future. The process to gel well has already started and we’ll see how high we can finish in front of the home fans.”
Younousse and Tijan will take on Canada’s Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter in the knockout round today morning with the winners taking on Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol and Christian Sandlie Sorum later in the day. Schachter has been to Doha twice before and had finished runners-up with Josh Binstock to Germans Tim Holler and Jonas Schroder in 2014. The Canadians contested in the 2016 event as well but finished in the 17th spot.
Qatar’s other two teams failed to progress after losing both their group matches.
Benlouaer Ziad Ziad and Ahmed Nassir, who were playing for the first time in the World Tour, lost to top seeds Philip Dalhausser and Nicholas Lucena of the USA 13-21, 15-21 in their opening match before going down to Dries Koekelkoren and Tom Van Walle of Belgium 8-21, 9-21.
In Pool F, Olympian Jefferson Santos Pereira and Julio Cesar Do Nascimento Junior began with a straight loss to sixth seeds Martin Plavins and Edgars Tocs from Latvia. Then they took on Brazilians Saymon Barbosa and Alvaro Filho in the losers’ game. They had to win it to stay in the tournament but the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major five-star event champions managed to overcome the challenge of the Qataris in three sets.
The other Asia and Oceania zone team Likejiang Ha and Jiaxin Wu from China also lost both their matches.
The Chinese pair was first outplayed by third-seeded Italians Daniele Lup and Paolo Nicolai in the first match but they fought hard in the losers’ clash against Canadians Grant O’Gorman and Ben Saxton, 14th seeds, before bowing out.
Australians Christopher McHugh, who won the Asia Championship with Issac Kapa, and Damien Schumann survived the first qualifying round against Indonesians Koko Darkuncoro and Danangsyah Pribadi 2-0 but lost to Poles Kacper Kujawiak and Maciej Rudol Poland in straight sets in the next on Tuesday.
Another Indonesian pair also suffered a first qualifying round defeat against Swiss Mirco Gerson and Adrian Heidrich.