Qataris Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan spoiled the bronze-medal hopes of Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena on Saturday 19-21, 21-19, 15-13 in the FIVB four-star event in Doha, Qatar.

Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands also came back from a first-set loss to win gold over Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko 20-22, 21-14, 15-11.

Top-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena were coming off a victory last weekend at the Fort Lauderdale Major in which they didn’t lose a set, but after losing in the semifinals Friday they came up short again as the 22-year old team from Qatar won their first FIVB medal. They were ninth in FIVB Hague in January but didn’t play in Florida, avoiding the 24-hour-day of travel from event to event.

Neither Younousse and Tijan, who were seeded ninth, nor Dalhausser and Lucena had more than a three-point advantage in the match. Qatar went up 14-11 in set three with a Younousse block, giving them three match points. It was 14-13 after a Dalhausser block and Younousse was called for being in the net. Lucena had a transition swing to tie, but spiked the ball long to end it.

Younousse and Tijan partnered in 2014, but separated in 2015 before reuniting this year. The high-flying lefty Younousse and acrobatic digs of Tijan make them a difficult sideout matchup.

The fourth-place finish for Dalhausser and Lucena dropped them 20 points to 1,800 points in the FIVB rankings, which measure the best four finishes of the last six events.

For Brouwer and Meeuwsen, it was their first gold in 2018 after winning bronze in the FIVB Hague and taking fifth in Fort Lauderdale. The silver medal marks the Russians’ first. Their previous best finish was fifth at FIVB Kish Island. At 21 years of age Stoyanovskiy is just 21 and Velichko is 22. They took ninth in Fort Lauderdale.


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