U.S. unbeaten in beach volleyball
LONDON -- One streak is over. The unbeaten streak continues for two-time defending Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor.
The Americans lost the first set of their preliminary round match against Austria on Wednesday night -- the first time they've lost a set in three Olympics. But after the 21-17 loss in the first, they came back to win the second by a dominating 21-8 and took the third 15-10 to remain unbeaten in this and every other trip to the Olympic Games.
"I was furious," Walsh Jennings said afterward. "It's still with me. I want to go to the practice court and fix it."
The Americans won seven straight matches in Athens and again in Beijing to collect a pair of gold medals without ever losing a single set. They won also their first two matches in London in straight sets.
That's 16 matches and 32 sets.
But they fell behind sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger 19-14 in the first set, closing the gap to 20-17 before a busted play ended with the ball in the net. They were never in trouble in the second and led 12-10 in the third before winning the last three points.
"So we can stop talking about it," said Walsh Jennings, who was playing with an eye infection that is expected to stay with her through the end of the Olympics. "I woke up this morning looking like Rocky Balboa, but it's better now."
Despite the blemish on their record, the Americans won their pool and advance to the knockout round as a No. 1 seed. They won't know their opponent until a draw after Thursday night's matches.
"Now it's a whole new tournament," May-Treanor said.
Also Wednesday, five-time Olympian Natalie Cook and Australian partner Tasmin Hinchley were eliminated from the Olympics with a 21-16, 18-21, 15-11 loss to Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova of the Czech Republic. Cook, who is retiring from international play, was in tears after the match.
"The Olympics is the greatest thing on earth," she said. "I'm proud to be a part of it. I'm sad and I'm disappointed, but I'm proud that I left everything out there."
In other women's action, Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany beat Mauritius in straight sets; defending bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China beat Greece in straight sets; Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova of Russia beat Switzerland, 21-17, 19-21, 15-9; and top-seeded Juliana and Larissa of Brazil beat the Czechs in straight sets.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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