Beach volleyball: Winning start for Brazil delights partisan crowd

Sat Aug 6, 2016 5:43pm EDT
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By Stephen Eisenhammer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil's male and female beach volleyball pairs made winning starts in their hunt for gold on Saturday, drawing on the loud home support to beat their Canadian and Czech Republic opponents on Copacabana's golden sand.

Brazil's female gold medal hopes Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas recovered from one set down to win 19-21 21-17 15-11 against talented Czech pair who came close to upsetting the home script on the opening day.

Barbora Hermannova and Marketa Slukova appeared to have the momentum midway through the second set but at 10-10 the Brazilians took the lead to drag themselves back into the match.

A thrilling block from Bednarczuk at won them the second set sending the crowd into rapturous applause. In the deciding third set the Brazilians regained control.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy," Bednarczuk told Reuters, explaining that the excitement of playing in front of a home crowd on Rio's famous beach had maybe caused them to lose a little focus.

After the first set "we were able to calm down a bit and put more tactics into play," she said.

Earlier on Saturday, Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt beat Canada's Josh Binstock and Samuel Schachter 21-19 22-20 to seal their credentials as gold medal favorites in the men's tournament.

"It was incredible," Cerutti told Reuters, still beaming after the performance.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Beach Volleyball - Men's Preliminary - Beach Volleyball Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. Alison (BRA) of Brazil and Bruno Oscar Schmidt (BRA) of Brazil react. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich