Agadir, Morocco, July 22, 2017 – The men’s quarterfinals at the Agadir stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 2017 started off with a major upset. On Saturday afternoon, at Plage Jour et Nuit on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, a French pair, seeded sixth, knocked out the main draw leaders.
Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye were not impressed by the pre-favourite status of Finland’s Pekka Piippo and Jyrki Nurminen and handed them a 32-minute 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) shutout in what was the fastest match of the day.
In the other quarterfinals the higher seeds lived up to their status and qualified for Sunday’s semifinals, with a couple of tie-breaks spicing up the afternoon.
In the longest match of the day, second-seeded Iranians Bahman Salemiinjehboroun and Rahman Raoufi survived a second-set scare against 10th-seeded Spaniards Raul Mesa and Christian Garcia to claim a 2-1 (21-19, 13-21, 15-11) victory after 50 minutes of playtime.
The Iranian pair during their game with the Spanish duo
In the other three-setter, Qatar’s Julio Cesar Do Nascimento Junior and Ahmed Tijan, with #3 in the main draw seeding, took 45 minutes to overcome Switzerland’s Mirco Gerson and Michiel Zandbergen for a 2-1 (21-10, 17-21, 15-11) win.
The home crowd also had a reason to celebrate as the fourth-seeded Moroccans Zouheir El Graoui and Mohamed Abicha cruised to a 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) victory over the other Swiss duo - Adrian Heidrich and Gabriel Kissling.
The home fans cheers El Graoui and Abicha on to the victory
“We played the match with the goal to advance and we reached that goal. I hope to do it again in the semifinal, so we will fight through the end,” Zouheir El Graoui said.
“We succeeded in difficult matches against Paraguay and Switzerland and we will do our best to succeed in our next game as well,” Mohamed Abicha added.
“We participated in this tournament to make a good performance. Now our goals begin to grow with this achievement. We also aim at good results at the World Championship in Austria,” their coach Rachid Bouchdouk commented.
Both semifinals on Sunday, as well as the two medal matches, will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube video channel
. In the first semifinal, Krou and Aye will lock horns with El Graoui and Abicha at 11:00 local time. Starting at 12:00 is the Persian Gulf clash between Julio and Tijan and Salemi and Raoufi. The third place match is scheduled for 17:00 and the final – for 18:00 on Sunday afternoon.