Two rounds of tough qualifications for the men’s main draw at the Katara Beach Volleyball Cup 4-star stop on the 2021 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour saw eight duos from seven different countries snatch the available spots to complete the 32-team line-up in Doha.
At their first ever 4-star tournament, 19-year-old Swedish sensations David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig won two hard-fought three-setters to progress in the tournament. The 2018 Youth Olympic champions, seeded 24th in the qualification bracket, started off with a 2-1 (21-18, 28-30, 15-9) win over Belgium’s Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle. In the second round, the Swedish wild cards came back from a set down against Dutch pair Stefan Boermans and Yorick de Groot to claim another tie-breaker victory – 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-8).
“It feels amazing to make it to the main draw at our first 4-star tournament ever,” Ahman exclaimed. “It’s unbelievable, after these two very tough games... It was an amazing comeback in the second match. We had it very tough in the first set and the beginning of the second set. Then we just came around and won the second set and got some momentum for the third set as well. We hope to make it even further in the tournament, but, as I said, it’s our first 4-star event...”
“We had two really tough matches. We’re really happy about how we played in the first game. We started the second match pretty badly actually, but we made a really good comeback to win that match,” Hellvig added. “We really look forward to a tough challenge of playing against some of the best teams in the world.”
Russia’s Alexander Likholetov and Ruslan Bykanov also had to work hard for their spot in Tuesday’s main draw. They won their first match of the qualifiers in straight sets, but only after taking the upper hand in the longest set of the day. In an all-Russian clash with Petr Bakhnar and Valeriy Samoday, Likholetov and Bykanov won by 2-0 (21-15, 34-32). Then, they went to three sets against Czechia’s Patrik Manas and Jiri Sedlak to take a 2-1 (21-15, 21-23, 15-12) victory and advance in the tournament.
Austria was the only country to push two duos through Monday’s qualifications in Qatar, as Alexander Huber and Christoph Dressler won both their matches in straight sets, while their compatriots Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller shut out Brazil’s Saymon Barbosa Santos and Fabio Rodrigo Castro Bastos in their only qualification fixture.
Top-seeded Quincy Aye and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat of France, second-seeded Jose Luis Rubio Camargo and Josue Gaston Gaxiola Leyva of Mexico, Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gogtepe of Turkey and Jasper Bouter and Ruben Penninga of the Netherlands were the other four teams to qualify.
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