Moscow Four-Star

Moscow Four-Star: Walsh Jennings-Sweat, Claes-Sponcil Roll Onto Quarterfinals

USAteam (1)

I’m going to pause for a moment to take a second out of your regularly scheduled Manhattan Beach Open programming.

There is a Four-Star in Moscow, you know.

And the U.S. still has two Olympic hopeful teams in the running in Russia. While the men are nixed early once again, with Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb falling to Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, 21-19, 19-21, 14-16, the women are still alive.

Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil continued their tour de force, smoking Slovakian upstarts Andrea Strbova and Natalia Dubovcova, 21-16, 21-9, moving onto the quarterfinals. It’s the third straight sweep for the Americans, who have won matches by seven, 17, and 17 in Moscow thus far. Tomorrow, they’ll meet Swiss Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre in the quarterfinals.

On the other side of the bracket are fellow Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings, fresh off her 41st birthday, and Brooke Sweat. After winning their pool, they, like Claes and Sponcil, received a first-round bye, playing China’s Chen Xue and Xinxin Wang. It wasn’t as easy as Claes’ and Sponcil’s win, but it was a win nonetheless, 21-18, 16-21, 19-17.

And now they’re onto a familiar foe in Brazil’s Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Silva, who recovered from a 10-21 first set to Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado to win in three.

Ok, everyone. Commercial break’s over.  

Back to your regularly scheduled Manhattan Beach programming.