Lars Fluggen (left) and Markus Bockermann of Germany celebrate winning the November 2015 Qatar stop on the FIVB World Tour
Lausanne, Switzerland, March 5, 2018 - The international scene shifts to Qatar this week as the men's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour stages its ninth event on the 2017-2018 calendar with the KATARA Beach Volleyball Cup starting Tuesday in Doha and concluding Saturday at the KATARA Cultural Village rather than the Al Gharafa Sports Club.
The Qatari capital hosts a FIVB World Tour for the fourth time as Doha staged its first event in 2014 followed by two tournaments during the Olympic qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Summer Games in November 2015 and April 2016.
One of the featured pairs this week will be Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen as the Germans defeated Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena for the 2015 crown followed by a fourth-place finish in 2016 when Italians Alex Ranghieri/Adrian Carambula topped the podium. An injury to Fluggen in the semifinals ended the Germans' bid for a repeat as Austrians Alexander Huber/Robin Seidl benefited from the forfeit to advance to the April 2016 title match against the Italians.
Dalhausser and Lucena enter this week's event after winning the last men's FIVB World Tour event on their home sand in south Florida where the Americans topped Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai in two sets in the Fort Lauderdale Major on Sunday. It was Dalhausser and Lucena's third medal in Fort Lauderdale after placing second in October 2015 and third in February 2017.
Competing in their 28th FIVB World Tour event, Dalhausser and Lucena have now captured nine gold medals with the Sunday podium placement being their 17th. The Italians are now 3-10 in FIVB gold medal matches as Lupo and Nicolai were awarded their 20th medal in 68 career events together.
Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins captured the bronze medal as the 12th-seeded team posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) bronze medal win in 42 minutes over ninth-seeded qualifiers Pedro Solberg and George Wanderley. The Latvians split $20,000 for placing third while Solberg and George shared $16,000 for their fourth place finish.
The women’s medal matches were played on Saturday before the men’s semifinals with Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas defeating Carolina Horta/Taiana Lima 2-0 (21-16, 21-13) in the 42-minute All-Brazilian gold medal match while Americans Summer Ross/Brooke Sweat captured the third spot on the Fort Lauderdale Major by defeating Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) in the 32-minute bronze medal contest.
While the women do not play a FIVB World Tour event until April 8-11 in Satun, Thailand, the men will be playing over the next two weeks starting on Tuesday with the KATARA Beach Volleyball Cup 2018 in Doha, Qatar. Two events are scheduled the week after Qatar in Oman (March 14-17) and Aalsmeer, the Netherlands (March 15-18).