Cherif/Ahmed & Semenov/Leshukov clash for Cancun gold

Qatar and Russia make it to the final of the last event in Mexico

Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan are back in the final of an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-start event in the Cancun Hub for a third-straight week, but this time the Qataris will face a different opponent as they will play the gold medal match at Playa Delfines against Russians Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov on Sunday.

The only team to play in the final of each of the three events held in Mexico between mid-April and early May, the Qataris lost to Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum on both occasions. They now have another chance to win their first gold together in a 4-star tournament.

The 25-year-old Cherif and the 26-year-old Ahmed had a strong day in Cancun on Saturday, when they knocked two Olympic champions out of the tournament with a 2-0 (23-21, 21-15) quarterfinal win against Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho and claimed another two-set (21-15, 21-17) victory against USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in the semifinals.

"We're really thankful that we are in back-to-back-to-back finals here in Mexico," said Cherif, a Rio 2016 Olympian. "We stopped in Florida on our way to Cancun to adjust to the time difference and had a really good week of training with Phil and Nick there. We've been trying to improve our volleyball IQ, game by game, and just play better matches every time."

Ahmed celebrates Qatar's third-straight gold medal match appearance in Cancun

Semenov and Leshukov, who finished fifth in the first tournament in Cancun and ninth in the second, won all five matches they played in the third event, with the most recent being their 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) quarterfinal victory against Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb and a 2-1 (14-21, 21-15, 15-13) semifinal triumph against Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi, both on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Semenov and the 25-year-old Leshukov, who have been partners on the World Tour since 2018, are back in the final of a 4-star event for the first time since October in that same year, when they won a tournament in Yangzhou, China.

“We struggled a lot with Carambula’s serve in the first set”, Semenov, a two-time Olympian, reflected. “We had played him a long time ago and his skyball wasn’t as effective as it is now with the wind. From the second set on we started helping each other more and that brought our best game out of us. We’re happy to be in our first final this year.”

Semenov tries to stop Rossi at the net during the first semifinal

The Qataris have a 3-1 historical advantage against the Russians in World Tour events. The Europeans, however, won the most recent meeting between the teams, which took place two weeks ago in Cancun.

Sunday's schedule in Cancun will feature only the medal matches and they will both be streamed live on the Beach Volleyball World Youtube channel. Subscribe, log in and set reminders to receive notifications when streams begin.

Go to:
Cancun Hub - 3rd event
Cancun Hub - 3rd event - Match schedule
Provisional Olympic ranking - Men
Provisional Olympic ranking - Women

Quick links:
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Experience Volleyball like never before!
Watch video clips and match highlights on your phone, tablet, laptop and TV, and gain access to exclusive content.
This is where Volleyball, Beach Volleyball & Snow Volleyball fans come together.
Watch anywhere, anytime! Highlights, exclusive content, clips and more.
Watch matches, top plays and recaps.
Read exclusive interviews and news about the world’s elite players.
Be part of the game and get behind the scenes access!