Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse posted their second successive victory and were assured of a place in the round of 32 in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, presented by A1, in Vienna, Austria on Sunday.
The Qataris, who finished an amazing fifth in the 2015 Worlds in the Netherlands, were up against Venezuelans Carlos Rangel and Jonathan Golindano. A victory was quite crucial for the 23rd seeds Pereira and Younousse as their next match is against second seeds Latvians Aleksandrs and Samoilovs and Janis Smedins.
Right from the word go, both Pereira and Younousse piled pressure on the unknown rivals and managed to win the opening set.
However, their rivals were not an easy pushovers and they rallied to win back the next set in extension.
The Qatari duo however realigned their strategy and an early push was more than enough to take them over the finish line with a fine 21-18 22-24 15-10 victory in 53 minutes.
Their next rivals on Tuesday may be higher in stature but both Pereira and Younousse are displaying good form and resistance of late, having finished ninth in two back-to-back high quality events – five-star Gstaad Open and four-star Olsztyn Open.
And considering the up and down form of the Latvians, who also contrived their second win in the pool by beating Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen in straight sets, the hopes of a tough match between them and the Qataris are quite strong.
Entering the 11th edition of the world championships, the Latvians had placed 17th in their previous two FIVB World Tour events in Switzerland and Poland as Samoilovs and Smedins had been defeated in six of their last eight matches to drop their FIVB match mark to 13-13 prior to their first Vienna match on Friday.
A 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) Pool B win in 39 minutes over the 26th-seeds was an encouraging sign for Samoilovs and Smedins as the German pair captured the gold medal at the last FIVB World Tour event in Poland where the Latvians finished 17th after winning only once in three Olsztyn matches.
“The goal is to play each match like the last one, we are only focused on the next match,” said Smedins, who will celebrate his 30th birthday on Monday. “We are not looking at any other matches, we are just preparing for this one, that is all. We played a little bit better with the service today, and they didn’t move their legs as good. It wasn’t a bunch of aces, but serves in different directions. Alex had some good blocks and dug one or two balls on defense.”
Sunday’s schedule at the $1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 features 28 pool play matches on three courts at the state-of-the art venue at Donauinsel with the focal point of the action and entertainment being held with a picturesque view of the Danube River and the lively atmosphere of the Beach Village.
A total of 216-matches will be played over a 10-day period at the world championships where the winning men’s and women’s teams will each split the $60,000 first-place prizes. The women’s medal matches will be played August 5 and the men’s August 6. With 96 teams from 40 countries in the competition, pool play will highlight the first six days of play with the featured court being the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.