Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 1, 2015 – Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse upturned the form book to knock John Mayer and Ryan Doherty out of the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on Wednesday.
The Qatari pair beat the previously unbeaten American duo 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) to advance to the second knockout round on Thursday and will play Swiss pair Philip Gabathuler and Mirco Gerson, who defeated Canadian team Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton 2-1 (21-17, 21-16, 15-12).
“The match wasn’t easy because we were playing against a big adversary,” Cherif said. “We didn’t have anything to lose as this is our first World Championships. I’m 20-years-old, so I just played like a kid plays and enjoyed myself and that is what you get when you do that.
“At the beginning of the second set I felt that we could beat them. They were under pressure and started to make mistakes. We just played and had fun and we played with a smile and no pressure. We worked very hard and this is the result. It is only the beginning.
“It is amazing here. I just came from Apeldoorn and the atmosphere was amazing, but here in Amsterdam it is even better.”
Jefferson and Cherif have only played in two FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events together, as well as the 2014 U21 World Championships.
However, they took the match to the Americans in aggressive style and ensured that they set away from the net so that they could negate the dominance of the 214cm-tall Doherty at the net.
“We came into this tournament and didn’t expect to have come so far,” Jefferson said. “But we just wanted to play beach volleyball and have some fun and now we can relax.
Nick Lucena and Theodore Brunner ensured that one US team would make it through to the second elimination round in Amsterdam when the defeated Germany’s Alexander Walkenhorst and Stefan Windschief 2-0 (21-18, 21-15).
Power and athleticism
The match was the usual mix of Brunner’s power at the net and Lucena’s athleticism at the back of the court and it sets up a clash against Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos.
“That is an awesome German team,” Lucena said. “We knew it would be tough and I thought Theo played great even though I set badly but we came out with it and it is a great moment.”
“We feel like we can beat anyone, but we can also lose to anyone,” Brunner added. “We are just focusing on our own game and getting better and better. We’re excited to still be here and are looking forward to tomorrow.”
Emanuel and Ricardo rolled back the years to knock out Poland’s Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz with a 2-0 (21-12, 23-21) victory.
Late in the second set it appeared that the Polish were on the verge of tying up the scoreline, but crucially they were unable to secure set point and thanks to some fine blocking from Ricardo the 2003 world champions turned the score around to win.
“We are trying to improve and now every match is like a final,” Emanuel said. “At the end of the second set Ricardo did such a great job in blocking their shots.
“Ricardo and I are among the oldest players, but crucially we have a good feeling together. We have developed an understanding of the crucial points of the match. We are still enthusiastic and at 40 (Ricardo) and 42-years-old (Emanuel) we need that type of energy.”