Qataris into first final
Kish Island, Iran, February 19, 2016 – Jefferson Santos and Cherif Younousse had to hold their nerve to reach their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour final when they defeated Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor in the Kish Island Open semifinals on Friday.
The Qataris defeated the Polish pair 2-1, (15-21, 21-18, 18-16) after having let slip three match points in the tie-break.
Jefferson and Cherif will now play Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin in Friday’s final. The Russian’s defeated Poland’s Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz 2-1 (18-21, 21-14, 15-10).
• Kish Island Open website
• Qualification results
• Qualification rankings
• Main draw results
• Pool standings
• Main draw rankings
“Maybe we felt the pressure and made some mistakes, but we calmed down and came back to the game,” Jefferson added. “We were a little nervous in the first set because it was our first semifinal, but we calmed down and focused on the next set.”
The match was the pairs’ first World Tour semi-final and whether they win gold or silver in Kish Island the result will have superseded their previous best, which was a quarterfinal place at the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
“It feels great,” Cherif said. “I’ve always dreamed about reaching a final and now my dream has come true. There is no secret to our success, just work hard and to help each other.”
Russian run gathering speed
Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin continued their remarkable run and matched Jefferson and Cherif’s achievement by reaching their first World Tour final in their first semi-final.
Just like their quarter-final the Russian pair had to fight back from losing the opening set, but after they drew level they dominated the tie-break and the Polish pair had no answer to Stoyanovskiy’s dominance at the net nor Yarzutkin’s movement at the back of the court.
“Our first final is better than our first semifinal,” Stoyanovskiy said. “Again, it was a tough match as always and I still don’t know how we won because it was very hard. We were in this situation of losing the first set many times and it helped us here again.”
Artem Yarzutkin keeps the ball in play
The Kish Island event is the first of the 11 Open tournaments to be staged by the FIVB in 2016, following on from Open events in Puerto Vallarta, Antalya and Doha in October and November last year, which heralded the start of the 2015-16 season. Qatar will host a second Open event in Doha from April 4 to 8.
The 2015-2016 beach volleyball calendar also includes five Grand Slams, three Major Series stops and the second edition of the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. The beach volleyball tournament at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games which will take place on Copacabana Beach will be the highlight of the 2016 calendar.