Moscow, Russia, August 10, 2018 – Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tajin needed to ignore the cheers of the Moscow crowd to knock out Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov, and reach the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow 4-Star quarterfinals on Friday.
The Qatari’s took on the Russians on one of the outside courts. The match attracted a fierce crowd who cheered on their compatriots, a team who won gold at the Mersin 3-Star earlier in the season.
They maintained their focus though, but had to fight hard to win and they eventually prevailed 2-1 (21-18, 17-21, 19-17) when Ahmed scored the winning point.
“It was a very tough game, in their home town and they had a full support and they took a lot of energy from the crowd,” Ahmed said. “But we fought and really fought for it and at the end we made it through.
“It was not easy. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. They had a lot of motivation to win and it was a big match and like a final. It was like playing against the crowd as well, and we wanted to quieten the crowd down.”
The two 23-year-olds have been playing together for less than a year, and in that time they have won bronze on home sand at the Doha 4-Star Katara Open, and then claimed their first on the road when they finished the Vienna 5-Star with another bronze.
“At the moment our level is very high and we are playing very well,” Ahmed said. “I’m really happy with my partner and how we are performing. We are playing some good stuff at the moment and I hope we can continue like this.”
Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko ensured that there will be one home team in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Russians beat Chilean cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt 2-0 (24-22, 21-15) to stay on course for a third World Tour medal in 2018.
“I feel relieved because they are a very good team,” Velichko said. “They improve from match to match and it is the third time we’ve played them this season.
“This time they changed their strategy and we were a little confused by it, but we managed to adjust so we were able to fight back and win.”
The Moscow 4-Star is the last 4-Star tournament in the 2017-18 season, and runs from August 8-12. The final tournament to take place is the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals that run from August 15-19.