Aussie men survive beach volleyball scare

·2-min read

Australian beach volleyballers Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett have survived a Sri Lankan scare to advance to the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.

McHugh and Burnett dropped their first set of the tournament in Friday's quarter-final but recovered to down Sri Lanka's Jayasinghe Rashmika and Yapa Malintha Ya 16-21 21-16 15-9.

Australia's women's favourites Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy also triumphed in a quarter-final on Friday, trouncing Scotland's Melissa Coutts and Lynne Beattie 21-11 21-11.

The men's victory sets up a semi-final against surprise packets from Rwanda, Venuste Gatsinzi and Olivier Ntagengwa.

The Rwandans upset New Zealand's 2018 Commonwealth bronze medallists Sam O'Dea and Brad Fuller in straight sets, 21-18 21-19, in their quarter-final.

Australia's McHugh, who won gold at the 2018 Games with Damien Schumann, and Burnett struggled early against the Lankans, who crafted a five-point break early in the first set which they maintained.

The Australian duo hit back in the second set with Burnett's powerful serve - his fastest effort was clocked at 91km/h - particularly damaging before they closed out victory with an emphatic third set.

"Once we settled in and got the nerves out of the way, we played pretty good overall," McHugh said.

"It's a real credit to them (Sri Lanka) and a real credit to Commonwealth federation sport that the sport has come so far in four years.

"You saw Rwanda this morning beat New Zealand and Sri Lanka really stuck it to us today.

"So we're really happy to get through to the next round."

Australia's women's pair of Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy cruised past Scotland's Melissa Coutts and Lynne Beattie in their quarter-final.

The Australians won the opening set after a hot streak of winning a dozen consecutive points and then again dominated the second set as they seek to go one better than their silver medal at the Gold Coast Gamews four years ago.

"That is very much done and dusted," Clancy said of their 2018 silver.

"It's a part of the culture of our sport, we're always on a tournament or moving on to the next week so it's important to learn your lessons from the previous tournament and previous game and then move forward.

"And that is what we really do, we just stay in the moment."

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