Australia’s Mariafe Artacho de Solar and Taliqua Clancy have shaken off a solid challenge from China to win in straight sets and reach the women’s beach volleyball quarter-finals.
But the round-of-16 contest was closer than it looked, with China pushing the 2019 world championship bronze medallists in the opening set.
Pictured: Mariafe Artacho del Solar #1 and Taliqua Clancy #2 of Team Australia react as they compete against Team China during the Women’s Round of 16 beach volleyball on day nine of the Tokyo 2020
Wang Xinxin, of China, returns a shot during a women’s beach volleyball match against Australia at the 2020
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy of Team Australia react after they defeated Team China during the Women’s Round of 16 beach volleyball
Wang Xinxin, of China, reacts to a play during a women’s beach volleyball match against Australia
After Australia broke out to a 4-1 lead, China rallied and kept pace.
The Australians fell behind 15-13 and then 16-14, before blunting the Chinese and pulling ahead.
After saving two set points, Australia secured their first and the momentum was with them.
They broke out to a 20-10 lead and while China saved three match points, the threat was over.
Australia’s only notable blemish was six serve errors to one.
Mariafe Artacho del Solar #1 of Team Australia competes against Team China at the Olympic Games in Tokyo
Mariafe Artacho del Solar, center, of Australia, takes a shot as Xue Chen, left, of China, and teammate Wang Xinxin, right, defend during a women’s beach Volleyball
Xue Chen, right, of China, returns a shot as Taliqua Clancy, of Australia, waits to defend during a women’s beach volleyball match at the 2020 Summer Olympics
Xue Chen, of China, dives for the ball during a women’s beach volleyball match against Australia
Canadian world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes will play Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo on Monday morning, with the winner to meet Australia the following day.
The Canadians beat Artacho de Solar and Clancy to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Australia have not been on the Olympic podium in women’s beach volleyball since Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst won gold at the Sydney Games.
This the second Olympics for Artacho de Solar, 27, and Clancy, 29, but their first as a combination since first playing together in 2017.