01.07.2019 - Hamburg
Aussie grit paved the way for Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy’s path to the elimination phase after an excellent straight sets win over Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat on the Red Bull Beach Arena.
Trailing 19-16 in the first set, Clancy showed why she is one of the best servers in the world as the Australians pulled back the deficit to win five straight points to turn the crucial Pool G match in their favor.
Needing a win to avoid a potential lucky loser play-off, Clancy and Artacho sealed the win in a tense second set 24-22 in a high-class beach volleyball match.
The duo, who finished third in Hamburg at last year’s World Tour Finals, can’t wait for the elimination phase and are already eyeing a meeting with Joy Stubbe and Marleen van Iersel after their defeat against the Dutch earlier in the tournament.
“There’s definitely a scar there and I hope we play against them later in the tournament,” Taliqua said, smiling. “We didn’t bring our best against them that day but we’re happy to get through to the next round.
“We learned important lessons from that game which we lost. We saw it as an opportunity to grow as a team and we did that.”
Pool winners Stubbe and van Iersel crushed the team from Mauritius to advance with three wins out of three but van Iersel is taking nothing for granted.
“When the pools were drawn we knew we were in one of the toughest so we prepared accordingly, tried to play our best and it paid off,” said Marleen.
“With experience I know that tournaments always start after the pool. The game was to survive the pool. That was always the main focus and now it’s over now we have to take it game by game.
“Although it gives us a good position on paper but you never know because there will be some good teams that will finish second or third. For me, that’s why the tournament starts now.”
Kerri and Brooke now wait to see if their record is good enough to advance automatically. If not, they will face a match in the lucky loser play-off. Only four of the best third placed teams will qualify for the round of 32.