Australia will face Team USA for gold after semifinal win against Latvia

Posted at 9:03 PM, Aug 04, 2021

AUS (Artacho Del Solar/Clancy) def. LAT (Graudina/Kravcenoka)


Australia's fifth-seeded Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy defeated Latvia's 16th-seeded Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka to head to the Tokyo Olympics' beach volleyball gold medal match. The Aussies will face Team USA's April Ross and Alix Klineman in the final.

Artacho del Solar and Clancy maintained a solid, if not necessarily overwhelming, lead during the majority of the first set. The teams were tied at 5-5 before Australia went on a three-point streak. Latvia nipped at their opponents' heels, and capitalized on an Australian error at 19-18 to tie. But Artacho del Solar and Clancy took the set on their opportunity at 22-21.

The second set saw Australia playing catch-up after Latvia took a two-point lead at 5-3. But minutes later, Artacho del Solar and Clancy had turned the tables -- up 13-11. On Australia's second match point, Latvia spiked the ball out of bounds -- propelling the Australians to the final with a straight sets win, 23-21, 21-13.

Artacho del Solar and Clancy both competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Clancy, with her then-partner Louise Bawden, advanced to the quarterfinals -- where the Australians were bumped out of the tournament by Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.

Can Clancy avenge that loss? The gold medal match takes place Thursday at 10:30pm ET.