Qatar’s Ahmed Tijan and Cherif Younousse rebounded from a tough first set to eliminate Team USA’s veteran duo of Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena in their first knockout round match of the 2020 Olympics.
Despite going down to the 41-year-old Americans via a 21-14 first set, Ahmed and Cherif staying cool despite sand temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in Japan.
The Qataris made a 5-1 run in the second set to take a 10-9 lead en route to a 21-19 win.
The Qatari momentum continued into the third set, though a 12-8 advantage trimmed to 12-10 by the Americans. But Cherif and Ahmed showed tremendous positional awareness and held firm for a 15-11 third set win.
Cherif and Ahmed beat Team USA duo Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne 2-0 in Pool C play, finishing first in the group to USA’s second.
The Qataris will meet the winner of a 4am EDT match between Italian duo Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai and Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl.
Dalhausser and Lucena were eliminated at the quarterfinal stage of the Rio Olympics in 2016 and go out one round earlier in Tokyo. Dalhausser won gold with Todd Rogers at Beijing 2008 but will not collect a long-sought second medal.