LONDON (Reuters) - Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli needed 11 match points to overcome German resistance 2-1 at the Olympic women’s beach volleyball tournament on Tuesday and go through to the knockout phase.
Britain’s duo surrendered much more tamely against the European champions from Italy, losing 2-0.
The Brazilians failed to convert nine match points in the second set of their pool E encounter but kept their cool to win the third set at the Horse Guards Parade.
“We lost nine match points so it is not too easy to keep focus after this. I said to Maria, ‘just don’t forget what we did in the first set’,” Talita told reporters.
The Brazilian pair converted their second match point of the set, and 11th overall to beat Germany’s Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig 21-19 29-31 15-13.
Talita and Antonelli remain on course for a semi-final showdown with fellow Brazilians and world champions Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta.
“I would like to play against them,” Talita said. “I always cheer for them (against other teams).”
In Pool F, Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti won a tightly contested first set against Britain’s Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney and then ran away with the second for a 21-18, 21-12 victory which puts them through to the knockout phase.
The European champions seemed unfazed by vociferous support for the host nation’s pair who won their first match and could still qualify for the knockout phase.
“We were concentrating on the game so I don’t care. It is great to see all these people even if they were for GB,” Cicolari said.
The British duo have now faced the Italians five times and have yet to record a win.
“We had a great win over Canada on Sunday and we still really enjoyed the experience today. It’s an amazing feeling just to step on to the court here,” Dampney said.
In Pool D, Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan secured a place in the knockout phase with a 2-0 (22-20 21-16) win against Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Maria Zonta.
“Liliana has a very tough attack and a great serve. They are both very strong, very complete players. Their attack hurt us a lot,” Zonta said.
The Spaniards face American pair Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in their next match on Thursday with the winner likely to top the pool.
Editing by Toby Davis and ALison Wildey