April Ross and Alix Klineman are through to the quarterfinals.
Ross and Klineman remained perfect at the Tokyo Olympics, beating Cuba’s Leila Consuelo Martinez Ortega and Lidianny Echevarria Benitez in a Round of 16 matchup on Sunday night.
The U.S. pair won in straight sets, 21-17, 21-15. They have dropped just one set total across four matches at the Tokyo Games.
But their matchup against the Cubans was far from a walk in the park. In the first set, Martinez and Echevarria hung right with the Americans and trailed 15-14 late. But the Cuban duo combined for three errors as the Americans took six of the final nine points.
Martinez and Echevarria then jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second set. But Ross and Klineman quickly settled in after, claiming eight of the next 10 points for a lead they would never relinquish.
Ross and Klineman are the Americans’ only shot at a medal in women’s beach volleyball after Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil were bounced from the Round of 16 by Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson. Klineman is in search of her first Olympic medal while Ross is gunning for her first gold after winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Games and silver at the 2012 London Games.
They will face Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch of Germany in the quarterfinals on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
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