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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - United States gold medal hopes Nicholas Lucena and Phil Dalhausser relished Thursday's marathon victory against Italy's Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, a performance they said put them in good stead for the knockout rounds.
With the sun setting over a windy Copacabana beach, the U.S. won 21-13, 17-21, 24-22 after both teams successfully defended match points in a third set that usually only goes to 15.
"It was a good test. They are one of the top five teams in the world, they're the future of this sport," Lucena said.
Nicolai and Lupo are 28 and 25 respectively, while veterans Dalhausser and Lucena are both 36.
Lucena and Dalhausser now move into the last 16. Their opponents will be decided by matches later on Thursday.
Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer