Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor win
Americans Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, who are trying for a third consecutive beach volleyball gold medal, beat Australians Tasmin Hinchley and five-time Olympian Natalie Cook 21-18, 21-19 on Saturday night, a match that started at 11 p.m. Saturday when the temperature was 63 degrees.
Because of the name recognition that makes them -- and the sport -- a big television ratings draw, all of May-Treanor and Walsh's matches have been scheduled for the last match of the third session at Horse Guards Parade: 11 p.m. local time. And that means temperatures that dropped into the 50s by the time the match ended.
All four players in the match said they had never played so late at night.
"I was worried," Walsh said. "At home, it hits 11 and I'm a zombie. But we could play at 4 in the morning, we don't care."
Cook said she was tempted to take a nap three different times during the day but the hubbub at the athletes village made it difficult. Walsh said they have been practicing at nights to get acclimated for the late matches.
After winning the first set 21-18, they rallied from a four-point deficit in the second to win on May-Treanor's spike that ended a lengthy set point.
"We definitely had our chance," said Cook, a five-time Olympian and two-time medalist. "That's what's disappointing to us. But the more often you can put yourself in that position, the better chance you have."
May-Treanor and Walsh won the gold medal in Athens and again in Beijing, but a lot has happened for them since 2008. Walsh had two children in less than a year, and May-Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon while rehearsing for "Dancing with the Stars."
"They definitely have weaknesses they didn't have before," Cook said. "We exploited them for short periods but we couldn't for the whole time."
In the mix zone afterward, Cook shouted over to May-Treanor, "Did we make you worry at all?"
May-Treanor deadpanned "No" before breaking into a wide smile.
The American pair has never lost a set in three Olympics, a streak that is inconsequential to May-Treanor but something Walsh Jennings protects with pride.
"My goal is to win every set I play in," she said.
Elsewhere, the No. 2 U.S. men's team of Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb needed just 33 minutes to put away South Africans Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt.
Defending men's champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States play their first match on Sunday, as does the No. 2 U.S. women's team of April Ross and Jen Kessy.
Play began Saturday morning with an upset in the first match, when Russians Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova beat Beijing bronze medalists Zhang Xi and Xue Chen 18-21, 21-14, 16-14. In the men's openers, Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins edged Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel of Poland 12-21, 21-15, 15-12 and Germans Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann beat Konstantin Semenov and Serguei Prokopiev of Russia in straight sets.
In the afternoon, Sascha Heyer and Seba Chevallier of Switzerland upset China's Wu Penggen and Xu Linyin 18-21, 21-16, 15-12; Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova beat Beijing quarterfinalists Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger of Austria 10-21, 21-13, 15-13; and Brazilian favorites Larissa and Juliana beat Elodie Li Yuk Lo and Natacha Rigobert -- Mauritius' first-ever beach volleyball competitors -- 21-5, 21-10 in a mere 30 minutes.
At night, Brazilians Ricardo and Pedro beat Martin Spinnangr and Tarjei Viken Skarlund of Norway in straight sets and Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland beat Maria Tsiartsiani and Vasiliki Arvaniti of Greece in two sets as well.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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