FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Qatar Open | 9 - 13 November 2015

#QatarOpen


Press release

Top seeds wrap up pool play with three from three


Nick Lucena enjoyed an unbeaten start at the Qatar Open

Doha, Qatar, November 11, 2015 – Top seeds Nick Lucena and Phil Dalhausser went straight into the Qatar Open second elimination round after they wrapped up pool play with an unbeaten record on Wednesday. 

The USA pair had a tough final pool encounter against Denmark’s Peter Dilling Kildegaard Andersen and Kristoffer Abell, but fought back after losing the opening set to win 2-1 (16-21, 22-20, 15-9).

“I was terrible, I think I missed six serves,” Lucena said.  “We haven’t practiced in three weeks, but it is good that we won our pool and hopefully we will get better, otherwise we’re in trouble.”

Lucena and Dalhausser only teamed up midway through the 2015 season and they made their debut as a pair at the Long Beach Grand Slam where they won silver. Since then they have won two sets of gold and two sets of silver on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. 

The duo are in a race against time to secure a place at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. After the Qatar Open they will have completed half of the required 12 tournaments and if they can continue their form into the New Year, then there is the strong possibility that they will do enough to earn a place at Copacabana Beach. 
 
“It’s great fun, it’s the most fun I’ve had playing and having Paul (Baxter) as our coach as well is great too,” Lucena added. “Phil is the best player in the world, so it’s the most fun I could have. 

“Hopefully we’ll do well here and then Trinidad for the Continental final, then we’ll be done and we can rehab and rest a little bit.”

Belgium pair aiming to match Antalya best

Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle remain on course to match their best finish of the season when they advanced through the first elimination round. 

Having finished second in their pool the Belgians had to face Qatar’s Ahmed Tijan and Assam Ahmed Mahmoud and duly won 2-0 (21-15, 21-15). 

“It was not as easy as it looked because of the wind and it is always windy here,” van Walle said. “You try to put the serves on the net, but that isn’t so easy. 

“But we are happy to win and happy to have ninth place and that is the most important thing.”

Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle reached the quarterfinals at the Antalya Open in Turkey three weeks ago, but otherwise it has been something of a struggle to build up their presence on the World Tour. 

Until recently both played volleyball professionally in the Belgian league before switching to the beach. 

It has meant they have had to work hard to build up experience and ranking points to qualify for World Tour events and now they will now have to play USA’s John Hyden and Ty Bourne if they want to reach the last eight in Doha. 

“It will be hard,” van Walle said. “We really wanted to be ranked first in our pool so that we would have a rest game and see what was coming, but we lost to Ingrosso and Ingrosso (Matteo and Paolo).

“Still we look forward to playing a first ranked team and see what happens.”

The last of three open events on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar, the FIVB Qatar Open started on Monday and will continue till Friday at the Qatar Beach Volleyball Academy in the Al Gharafa Sports Club in Doha.

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