Blocking action at the World Tour event in Muscat, Oman
Muscat, Oman, March 15, 2018 – The three Iranian pairs in the main draw of the Muscat one-star men’s event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour achieved their maximum in Thursday’s pool play. Their only defeat came from the hands of compatriots as two teams qualified directly for the quarterfinals as pool winners and one made the next round as runners-up.
In addition to Iran’s Rahman Raoufi and Bahman Salemiinjehboroun, seeded at #1, and Aghamohammad Salagh and Abolhamed Mirzaali, seeded at #11, second-seeded Germans Philipp Arne Bergmann and Yannick Harms and fifth-seeded Italians Tiziano Andreatta and Andrea Abbiati also won their pools to advance straight to the second knock-out round of the tournament.
In Pool A, Raoufi and Salemi scored straight-set victories – 2-0 (21-11, 21-15) over Omani wildcards Hood Al Jalaboubi and Ameer Al Farsi and 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) in the pool final against Switzerland’s Gabriel Kissling and Michiel Zandbergen. The other Swiss duo in the pool, Quentin Metral and Simon Hagenbuch, also made the cut for the single elimination rounds finishing third after a 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) win against the home team.
Pool B also featured straight-set matches only, with Bergmann and Harms emerging on top after claiming a 2-0 (21-12, 21-10) win against the other wildcards from the home country, Majid Alshibli and Ali Al Shibli, and overpowering Daniel Muellner and Florian Schnetzer from Austria for a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) victory. Hong Kong’s Pui Lam Wong and Tsz Ho Kelvin Lau hammered out a 2-0 (21-11, 21-7) win against Majid and Ali to disappoint the home crowd at the Millennium Resort Mussanah.
Two Iranian teams won the first matches in Pool C. Salagh and Mirzaali came back from a set down against the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Bercik and Jan Dumek to fight on for a 2-1 (15-21, 21-14, 15-10) victory after 53 minutes of play time, while third-seeded Abbas Pourasgari and Arash Vakili shut out Oman’s Badar Alsubhi and Al Farsi Ibrahim by 2-0 (21-16, 21-15). Salagh and Mirzaali had to persevere through one more 53-minute three-setter to top the pool with a 2-1 (21-11, 16-21, 15-9) victory in the all-Iranian final, while Bercik and Dumek delivered yet another disappointment to the Omani fans with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-16) defeat of the home pair in the losers’ match.
The only home team victory of the day came in Pool D as Nouh Al-Jalbubi and Mazin Alhashmi mastered a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) upset of fourth-seeded Ahmed Alhousni and Haitham Alshereiqi in an all-Omani clash. Italy’s Andreatta and Abbiati managed a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-8) come-from-behind win against Denmark’s Mads Rosager and Martin Trans Hansen before signing off as pool winners with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) shutout of Nouh and Mazin. The Danes kept the European contingent intact before the knock-out stage of the tournament with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) straight-setter against Ahmed and Haitham.
Main draw action on the Gulf of Oman coast will resume on Friday at 9 AM local time with the first single elimination round, with the quarterfinals scheduled for the afternoon hours.