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2018-03-01 00:11:00 CET

US duos storm in last 16!

Fendrick/Branagh and Claes/Hughes among the pool leaders in Fort Lauderdale

Fendrick and Branagh started strong with two pool wins in Fort LauderdaleFendrick and Branagh started strong with two pool wins in Fort Lauderdale

Hosts of the first Beach Major Series event of the 2018 season, the United States advanced two teams to the women’s Round of 16 after the first day of the main draw in the Fort Lauderdale Major. Nicole Branagh/Lauren Fendrick and Sara Hughes/Kelly Claes were the two American teams to win both of their matches in Florida.

Playing together on a temporary basis, Branagh and Fendrick registered a pair of wins over European teams in Fort Lauderdale to claim the top spot in Pool A.

The veterans started their campaign with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-16) victory over Norwegian qualifiers Ingrid Lunde and Oda Ulveseth and confirmed their perfect record by taking down Finnish pair Anniina Parkkinen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen also is two sets (26-24, 21-13) in the Red Bull Beach Arena.

“That’s huge for us,” Branagh said after their second victory. “We have the day off tomorrow and it feels good. We can rest and recover. It’s important to come out strong from the start. We were on center court, the fans were coming in, people were cheering for both sides and I think we had a little of the energy of being the home favorites. It was fun to play in that atmosphere.”

In Pool F, Claes and Hughes started out with a three-set battle (19-21, 26-24, 15-13) against Spain’s Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo. In the second match, the 12th seeds Americans had a more comfortable two-set victory (21-16, 21-11) over Switzerland’s Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart.

Sara Hughes on Twitter

First in pool beating Switzerland 🇨🇭and Spain 🇪🇸. Have the day off tomorrow and then to the round of 16! @USAVBeach @usavolleyball @MikasaUSA @KTTape @oakley @BeachMajors 📸 by @beachkl

The other six teams to get back-to-back to wins to lead their pools in the #FTLMajor were Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan, Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Taliqua Clancy, Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova, Germany’s Karla Borger/Margareta Kozuch and Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger and Brazil’s Barbara Seixas/Fernanda Alves.

These teams will not play on Thursday as the women’s schedule only comprises the final pool matches for the teams that lost on the first round and the Round of 24. The Round of 16 and the quarterfinals will be played on Friday, with the semifinals and the medal matches set for Saturday.

Beach Volleyball Major Series on Twitter

If you can't be here at #FTLMajor - you can watch all games live at our #BeachStream 📺🏐🇺🇸 https://t.co/WluNq81fW1 #hellosunny #GivesYouWings #wawa

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