By Nigel Hunt
LONDON (Reuters) - Brazil's Talita Da Rocha Antunes and Maria Antonelli needed 11 match points to overcome German resistance 2-1 at the Olympic women's beach volleyball tournament on Tuesday to go through to the knockout phase.
Britain's duo surrendered tamely against the European champions from Italy, losing 2-0, while in the day's finale Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Dutch pair Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer.
The Brazilians failed to convert nine match points in the second set of their Pool E encounter but kept their cool to triumph in the third set at the Horse Guards Parade.
"We lost nine match points so it is not too easy to keep focus after this. I said to Maria, 'just don't forget what we did in the first set'," Talita told reporters.
The Brazilians converted their second match point of the final set to beat Germany's Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig 21-19 29-31 15-13.
Talita and Antonelli remain on course for a semi-final showdown with fellow Brazilians and world champions Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta.
"I would like to play against them," Talita said. "I always cheer for them (against other teams)."
In Pool F, Italy's Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti won a tightly contested first set against Britain's Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney and then ran away with the second to clinch a 21-18 21-12 victory that put them through to the knockout phase.
The European champions seemed unfazed by the vociferous support for the host nation's pair who won their first match and could still qualify for the next stage.
"We were concentrating on the game so I don't care. It is great to see all these people even if they were for GB," Cicolari said.
The British duo have now faced the Italians five times and have yet to record a victory.
"We had a great win over Canada on Sunday and we still really enjoyed the experience today. It's an amazing feeling just to step on to the court here," Dampney said.
In Pool D, Americans Ross and Kessy defeated van Iersel and Keizer 21-15 12-21 15-8 in the late-night finale despite struggling to cope with falling temperatures.
Kessy called a medical time-out in the second set.
"My feet were frozen. I thought I would get some warm water on them," she said.
The Americans next face Spain's Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan on Thursday to decide who tops the group.
The Spanish pair had earlier cruised to a 22-20 21-16 win over Argentina's Ana Gallay and Maria Zonta.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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