Ostrava, 4 June 2023 - The return of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan to the Volleyball Beach Pro Tour continues to go well for the Qataris, who won a pair of matches on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Elite16 event that’s being held in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
The Tokyo Olympic bronze medallists will face American qualifiers Andy Benesh and Miles Partain in one of the semifinals today, while the home team of Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner will battle Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway on the other side of the bracket, in a rematch of last year’s gold medal match in Ostrava.
The medal matches will be held in the afternoon, with the contest for bronze and the final starting one hour later.
Cherif and Ahmed haven’t competed on the Beach Pro Tour since the Elite16 event held in Tepic, Mexico, in March. The two decided to skip the tournaments held in Brazil between April and May as Cherif prepared for the birth of his first daughter, but are now back at it.
The Qataris paid a toll for their long absence, dropping two of their three pool play matches in Ostrava, but still made it to the elimination rounds. The pair found their rhythm yesterday, topping Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Gustavo Carvalhaes 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-12) in the Round of 12 and Italians Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) in the quarter-finals to make their first semi-final appearance in the season.
Of the four semifinalists, Partain and Benesh had the longest route to the semis, having played as many as seven matches since they started their campaign in Ostrava, on Wednesday, on the qualifier. The Americans had two matches yesterday and overcame Poland’s Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) in the Round of 12 and Swedish David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig also in two sets (21-18, 21-0) in the quarters – Hellvig was forced to withdraw from the match at the end of the first set after he sustained a wrist injury.
The winners of last year’s Ostrava Elite16 event, Mol and Sorum are in the semis again with a very consistent campaign. After winning their three pool play matches, the reigning Olympic and world champions got on the court once yesterday and eliminated Germans Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler with a two-set (22-20, 22-20) victory in the last eight.
Perusic and Schweiner, who took silver in Ostrava last year, also remain undefeated in the tournament, now having four wins earned in three days. Yesterday, they dominated French Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) win in the quarters.