Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena reached their first International Volleyball Federation Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal match in over a year when they defeated Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira at the Katara Cup in Doha today.
The United States pair, both 39, beat the Spaniards 21-19, 21-11 in this four-star tournament at the Katara Cultural Village, but it may not have happened if Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Dalhausser had ot decided to reverse his decision to retire following the end of the 2017-2018 season.
"I did some soul searching this off-season and I was so close to retiring, so close," said Dalhausser, winner of a World Championship gold medal in 2007 and the Olympic title a year later with previous partner Todd Rogers.
"But something sparked into me and totally switched my mind-set and I feel like I have a new life in beach volleyball.
"The goal is gold in Tokyo [2020 Olympic Games], that’s the long-term goal, obviously the goal here is gold."
Dalhausser and Lucena last played on the World Tour when they reached the second knockout round at the Vienna five star event last August.
The long rest appears to have rejuvenated them and they have dropped only one set in four matches in the Qatar capital.
They are now on course to win their first World Tour medals since they won gold at the Fort Lauderdale five star tournament in Mach 2018.
Dalhausser and Lucena are set to face Esteban and Marco Grimalt in the gold medal match.
The Chilean cousins had to fight back after losing the first set and beat Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl 18-21, 21-14, 15-12.
It means they are in their second World Tour gold medal match in two weeks and their first in a four star tournament.
Last Sunday (March 10) they won the gold medal at the three star tournament in Sydney.
"It is incredible, we are so proud and so happy to make another final and this time in a four star against the best team in the world," Esteban Grimalt said.
"They are a wonderful team.
"When we started to play beach volleyball they were our idols so it is very important that we are playing against them in a World Tour final.
"It has been a long two weeks and hopefully we will save the best for tomorrow."