Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Tijan Ahmed put up a stellar show to emerge as champions in the first King of the Court beach volleyball tournament in Doha on Saturday.
In the three-round final at the Aspire Zone, the world No. 1 Qatari pair clinched the title with a skilful and gritty display. In the decisive third round, Younousse and Ahmed were up against Holland’s Stefan Boermans and Yorick De Groot, and Sweden’s David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig.
The Qatari duo, encouraged by a full house of fans, served, spiked and rallied superbly to accumulate points. They finished with the highest points – 15 – in the 15-minute session to clinch the title. While Boermans and De Groot mustered 11 points, Ahman and Hellvig finished third with seven.
In the previous round, the Qataris scored a whopping 20 points to finish on top after the 15-minute session. Ahman and Hellvig (10), Boermans and De Groot (four) finished in that order.
In the first 15-minute round, Younousse and Ahmed placed third with eight points. Boermans and De Groot (10), and Krattiger and Breer (9) were first and second respectively. Ahman and Hellvig (seven), who placed behind the Qatari duo, also made the second round while Switzerland’s Yves Haussener and Estonia’s Mart Tiisar (one), who had the least points, were eliminated.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Isabel Schneider and Sandra Ittlinger clinched the women’s title. France’s Lezana Placette and Alexia Richard were second while Anastasia Kravchenoka (Latvia) and Phoebe Bell (Australia) placed third.
The tournament follows a different format than the regular competition. Each phase consists of five teams, competing in one set of matches for three available spots in the final. The five sides play three 15-minute rounds, with the team with the lowest score in each round getting eliminated.
Teams earn one point when they win a rally while standing on one side of the court known as the Kingside. If a team from the opposite side wins the rally, they will trade places with their rivals. They will then attempt top score points off their next rally. The team with the maximum points at the end of 15 minutes will win.