First Match, First Win for Klineman and Ross
Written July 25, 2021, 11 am JST
TOKYO (July 25, 2021) –It’s one-for-one in Tokyo for Alix Klineman/April Ross as the fifth-ranked duo in the world dispatched Chinese foe Chen Xue/Xinxin Wang, 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) Sunday at Shiokaze Park.
“It’s nice [to get the first win],” Ross said. “Especially against that team; that’s a really good Chinese team. We studied them hard … It feels good to get that win.”
The match, each team’s first of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, started tentatively, but Klineman/Ross shortly found their groove. They took a 13-8 lead into the technical timeout, and only a short Chinese rally at the end of the set changed the margin of victory.
Set two was more back-and-forth. Wang/Xue took an early 1-3 lead, but Klineman/Ross erased it by winning the next three points. The teams kept within a couple points of each other throughout the set, and China grabbed the advantage late at 18-19. Ross slammed home two straight points to retake the lead, and Klineman finished off the match with a point of her own.
“There’s a lot of excitement and nerves coming into the first match, and it felt good to settle into our game and execute our game plan,” Klineman said after playing her first career Olympic contest. “They were great, they pushed us, but to be walking out with a win is amazing.”
Klineman led all players with 18 kills and four blocks in the match, and Ross found the sand 13 times. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native also served up a pair of aces.
The American duo will next take the court Tuesday, July 26, at 5 p.m. Pacific (9 am on July 27 local). They’ll face Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner/Elsa Baquerizo McMillan in another pool B contest.
Dutch Win Battle of Olympic Vets in Tokyo Opener
Written July 24, 2021, 11 pm JST
TOKYO (July 24, 2021) – In a match between four Olympic veterans, U.S. Olympic beach volleyball squad Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena came up shy in a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) loss to Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands Saturday.
“It was not a very smooth match for us, unfortunately,” Dalhausser said after the Olympic-opening match. “They serve tough and put us in a bad spot. It was tough to score points against them, they’re both big, physical guys.”
Brouwer/Meeuwsen, who took bronze in their first Olympics at Rio 2016, outlasted an American side who finished fifth that year. The Americans held a narrow advantage to begin the match, but Brouwer/Meeuwsen maintained contact and took their first lead halfway through the frame. Tough serving from the Dutch led to a two-point advantage at 17-15, and that was all they needed to clinch the set.
After the set break, Dalhausser/Lucena came out firing, taking a 1-5 lead in the second. They couldn’t hold off sixth-ranked Brouwer/Meeuwsen, however, and faced a 12-9 deficit at the set’s technical timeout. That margin held through the end of the match.
Both Dalhausser and Lucena scored 12 points Saturday, Lucena’s all on the attack, and four of Dalhausser’s coming from the block. Meeuwsen led all players with 17 points.
All four players Saturday have played in a combined 10 Olympic Games. Tokyo 2020 is Lucena, Brouwer and Meeuwsen’s second Games each, while Dalhausser is competing in his fourth.
Dalhausser/Lucena will look to bounce back against another highly rated team, No. 5 Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Morais Filho of Brazil. That match begins at 8 p.m. Pacific on July 26 (Noon on July 27 local).