Clancy, Artacho de Solar cruise in opener

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Steve Jancetic / AAP News

 

The Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020 silver medallists cruised through the opening round of their Birmingham campaign.

 

Australian duo Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho de Solar have made a solid start to their quest for an elusive beach volleyball Games gold with a straight sets win over Sri Lanka in Birmingham.

Silver medallists at the last Commonwealth Games and then again at the Tokyo Olympics last year, Clancy and Artacho de Solar have their eyes on the main prize – where a familiar foe is again expected to be standing in their way.

Only getting onto the sand for the first time on the third day of the Games, the Aussie world No.4 duo beat Deepika Bandara and Chathurika Weerasinghe 21-10 21-12 in just under 40 minutes.

“It is a bit of a marathon here compared to other tournaments,” Clancy said.

“There is a lot of time waiting around, so we were itching to get our opportunity on the court.”

They will go up against Trinidad & Tobago in their next match on Tuesday, and while they are not looking too far ahead, a possible clash with C anada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Peredis – who denied them gold in an epic final on the Gold Coast four years ago – again looms.

“The first game is always about trying to feel firm and control the nerves,” Artacho de Solar said.

“It was good to get that one out of the way and it was fun to get out there in front of this huge crowd.

“We always respect every team that we come against. The first game is always about trying to feel firm and control the nerves.”

The Australians were in control of the contest throughout, each player finishing with three aces apiece. Clancy was a perfect 10 from 10 with her attacking plays.

Australia’s men’s combination of Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett – who were first-up winners – will be back in action on Monday when they take on South African pair Leo Williams and Grant Goldschmidt.

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