Sport Olympics Australian pair beats China to reach beach volleyball quarters

Australian pair beats China to reach beach volleyball quarters

Mariafe Artacho del Solar gestures to Taliqua Clancy in their beach volleyball round of 16 match against China. Photo: Getty
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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.

The Australians will meet either world champions Canada or Spain after beating Xue Chen and Wang Xinxin 22-10 21-13 in 41 minutes.

But the round-of-16 contest was closer than it looked, with China pushing the 2019 world championship bronze medallists in the opening set.

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.

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 has not been on the Olympic podium in women’s beach volleyball since Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst won gold at the Sydney Games in 2000.

This the second Olympics for Artacho de Solar, 27, and Clancy, 29, but their first as a combination since first playing together in 2017.