Doha, Qatar, March 9, 2018 – Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko remain on course for their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal in only their second tournament as a pairing after they defeated number one seeds Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the semifinals of the KATARA Beach Volleyball Cup on Friday.
The Russian pair have both won World Tour medals with previous partners, but after a ninth-place finish at the 5-Star Fort Lauderdale Major last week they have continued their form with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) win over the USA’s Dalhausser and Lucena.
“It is unbelievable, my first time in a final and it will be an even higher level in the final, so I’m very happy,” Stoyanovskiy said.
“That was a very tough match. Nick and Phil are among the very best players in the world and they were in unbelievable shape last week.”
The 4-Star KATARA Beach Volleyball Cup runs from March 6-10, and is taking place at the KATARA Cultural Village. It is the fourth time that Doha has hosted an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament, following competitions in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Stoyanovskiy and Velichko will now face Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen in the gold medal match on Saturday.
The Dutch pair beat local favourites Cherif Younousse and Tajin Ahmed 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) to reach their first World Tour final of 2018.
The Qataris are chasing a first World Tour medal on home sand and they had the backing of the centre court crowd. However, the 2013 world champions showed they are nearing their best to give themselves the chance to add to the 4-Star Hague bronze medals they won at the start of the year.
“The Qatari guys have been playing well all tournament and they are a really strong team,” Meeuwsen said. “We prepared well and knew we had to play well to beat them, and it is a big relief to beat them in two.”
“It’s pleasing to know that even when we don’t play at 100 percent we can still win matches,” Brouwer said. “That gives us confidence, but we’re eager to play better tomorrow.”