Doha, Qatar, April 7, 2016 – Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen showed that they are nearing the form that they displayed when winning the 2015 Qatar Open gold medal by reaching the semifinals at the Al Gharafa Sports Club on Thursday. Quick links
• Qatar Open website
• Main draw
The German duo defeated two Italians to make the last four; first they beat twins Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) and then knocked out the in-form Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, 2-0 (28-26, 21-19).
“We are surprised it was 2-0,” Bockermann said. “I think we had a technically good day today and we did our job.”
Qatar gold bookended the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour with gold after Bockermann and Fluggen had started 2015 by winning gold at the Fuzhou Open in China.
They had to be at their best in the final where they defeated the USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena 2-1 (21-18, 16-21, 15-13). Since then they have reached the quarterfinals of the Kish Island and Vitoria Opens and placed 17th at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam.
“We enjoy playing here,” Bockermann added. “The key was we had fun out there, so we stayed more relaxed than normal and then we got away with some shots on the line and had a little luck.
“This time it feels better and we are playing a better side-out game here. Maybe we’re used to the sand as it is pretty deep here and we can handle that.”
Austrian’s returning to peak form
Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl will have the ominous task of trying to end Bockermann and Fluggen’s run in Qatar when they meet in the first of Friday’s semifinals.
The Austrian pair beat Poland’s Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) to reach the last four for the first time since the 2013 Hague Open, the year in which they won their first World Tour medal, bronze at the Fuzhou Open.
“They were two hard-fought sets and in both matches we had to come back from behind,” Huber said. “It has been a great tournament so far for us and we’re enjoying it.
“We are aiming for the Continental Cup in June so there is still a lot of work to do. We had two good seasons in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 we had a tough break because I had an oblique injury and we couldn’t find our rhythm and we were really down. Now we have a good team around us and we are improving and improving.”
Austria's Robin Seidl (left) and Alexander Huber
The second semifinal will pitch Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor against Italy’s Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula.
The Polish pair beat USA’s Jacob Gibb and Casey Patterson 2-0 (21-18, 21-17), while Ranghieri and Carambula beat Brazil’s Oscar Brandao and Andre Loyola Stein 2-0 (21-18, 21-17).
The Qatar Open is the second and last tournament for men only on the 2016 portion of the 2015-2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. It is the third straight year that Qatar has hosted a FIVB World Tour event in Doha and it runs from April 4-8 when the medal matches take place.
The event continues the Road to Rio that lasts until June 13, 2016 with FIVB World Tour events counting towards the Olympic Ranking in order to determine 15 of 24 spots for each gender that will take part in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The next World Tour tournament is the Xiamen Open in China, which takes place from April 12-17.