Three teams from Pool D booked the last direct tickets to the first elimination round of the Tokyo 2020 women’s Olympic beach volleyball tournament before the draw was held to determine the round of 16 fixtures.

USA’s Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil mastered a complete turnaround in the match against Brazil’s Ana Patricia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti to win by 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-11) and top the final Pool D standings unbeaten.

“It feels good! It was just really tiring because they are such a good team, so I am pretty drained mentally and physically. We just did a pretty good job taking it point by point. That’s what you have to do. You have to be present. We did a good job not focusing on the past plays that didn’t go our way or what’s happening in the future. We just stuck in the moment, got some really good defensive plays in the end and we came out really strong in the third, which is what we needed to do against a team like that,” Sponcil said.

“I think it was more of a mental match. We knew they were going to get their points, because they are such a great team. So it was about being patient, waiting for the opportunities and take advantage of them,” added Claes. “We are not the types that count points. We want to win and that’s in our mindset.”

Kravcenoka and Graudina smile after winning against Kenya

Kravcenoka and Graudina smile after winning against Kenya

In the last match of the pool stage, Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka produced a 2-0 (21-6, 21-14) shutout of Kenya’s Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Khadambi to snatch the second place on a 2-1 win-loss record and knock their winless opponents out of further contention. Finishing third in the pool, Ana Patricia and Rebecca still made it directly to the last 16 as one of the two best ranked third-placed teams, along with Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson from Pool C.

The last two vacancies in the round of 16 will go to the winners of Saturday’s lucky-loser matches between the other third-placed teams, Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami (Japan) against Liliana Fernаndez and Elsa Baquerizo (Spain) and Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon (Netherlands) against Lidy Echeverria and Leila Martinez (Cuba).

Shortly after the end of the pool stage, the knockout fixtures were drawn:

Sarah Pavan & Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN) v Winner of lucky-loser match

Mariafe Artacho & Taliqua Clancy (AUS) v Chen Xue & Xinxin Wang (CHN)

Nadezda Makroguzova & Svetlana Kholomina (ROC) v Tina Graudina & Anastasija Kravcenoka (LAT)

Heather Bansley & Brandie Wilkerson (CAN) v Kelly Claes & Sarah Sponcil (USA)

Fan Wang & Xinyi Xia (CHN) v Ana Patricia Ramos & Rebecca Cavalcanti (BRA)

Anouk Verge-Depre & Joana Heidrich (SUI) v Tanja Huberli & Nina Betschart (SUI)

Laura Ludwig & Margareta Kozuch (GER) v Agatha Bednarczuk & Eduarda Santos Lisboa (BRA)

Winner of lucky-loser match v April Ross & Alix Klineman (USA)