Posted Jul 31, 2012By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
LONDON (AP) — Defending champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser improved to 2-0 in the preliminary round of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament Tuesday, beating Spain in three sets.
The victory against the only other unbeaten team in their pool virtually assures the Americans of a trip to the knockout round.
Earlier Tuesday, defending world champions and top-seeded Emanuel and Alison of Brazil earned their second straight win, beating Switzerland. The Brazilians won 21-17, 21-12 over Patrick Heuscher and Jefferson Bellaguarda to remain atop their pool.
The Americans were in trouble the entire first set, and Spain clinched it 21-19 when Rogers attempted a crosscourt shot but put it in the net instead. The U.S. pair took an eight-point lead in the second and held on to win 21-16, then opened a 5-1 lead in the third.
But Spain trailed just 13-12 when the Americans took the lead on a controversial call, a potential double-hit that even Rogers said he would have called against himself.
Rogers went up for a block, but the shot bounced off his chest and he popped it up into the air with his fist. It's a judgment call by the referee: If it was two motions, it's illegal, but if the ball bounced off him twice in one move it would be OK.
Spain's Pablo Herrera Allepuz argued with the referee until he was given a yellow card, then continued to argue.
The Spaniards won the next point when Allepuz crossed his shot in front of Dalhausser's attempted block, but Rogers found an unoccupied part of the court on the next point for the clincher.
In other men's action Tuesday, the Czechs beat Japan 17-21, 21-12, 15-7; Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia beat Venezuela, 21-14, 21-16; and the Netherlands beat Germany's Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik in straight sets.
On the women's side, Spain beat Argentina 22-20, 21-16; Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands beat Becchara Palmer and Louise Bawden of Australia 21-19, 21-15 for the first beach volleyball victory in Dutch women's history. Italy beat Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin of Britain 21-18, 21-12 and Russia beat Canada, 21-18, 28-30, 15-13.
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