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2018-08-04 15:41:00 CEST

Polish and Qatari first-timers in Vienna’s semi

Fijalek/Bryl and Cherif/Tijan advance to the final four at the Island

Fijalek and Bryl advanced after a victory over Pedro and BrunoFijalek and Bryl advanced after a victory over Pedro and Bruno

The A1 Vienna Major presented by Swatch will feature two men’s teams making their first-ever semifinal appearances in a Beach Major Series event as Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl and Qatar’s Cherif Samba/Ahmed Tijan have both advanced to the final four at the Danube Island.

The 31-year-old Fijalek, who has won a bronze medal in the Stavanger Major in 2015 with former partner Mariusz Prudel, and the 23-year-old Bryl, an Under-19 and Under-21 world champion, are playing in their 16th tournament together after joining forces at the start of the 2017 season.

The Polish had a big two-set (21-15, 25-23) victory over Brazilians Bruno Schmidt and Pedro Solberg at the Red Bull Beach Arena to advance to their first semifinal in a Major event.

“It was exhausting, but we’re really happy,” Fijalek said. “It’s super warm on center court but we just tried to forget about the weather and focus on our side and try to play well. We knew serving would be important and we tried to do that. We just got to keep fighting in the semifinal.”

Tijan and Cherif had won all of their six matches in Vienna so farTijan and Cherif had won all of their six matches in Vienna so far

The temperatures have definitely not been a problem for the Qataris, though. Used to face extremely warm conditions in their home country, Cherif and Tijan have won all of their six matches in Vienna this week dropping just two sets on their way.

Their latest victory happened in their quarterfinal duel against Americans Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb, which the Qataris dominated to win 21-11, 21-18.

“We came straight from Japan, played on qualification and our confidence just kept growing,” Cherif commented. “The fifth-place we took there was disappointing for us but we knew it would be a different tournament here, with all the best teams in the world. We had big wins against a tough team from Russia and then Doppler and Horst on center court and that got us on fire. Also, we are better used to warmer temperatures than the other teams, so maybe that makes some difference."  

The semifinals will open Sunday’s schedule at the Danube Island at 1pm CEST. The gold medal match is scheduled to 4.30pm.

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