Aussies cruise in the sand in Tokyo

Australia showed their class to open their Tokyo Olympic beach volleyball campaign with a win.
Australia showed their class to open their Tokyo Olympic beach volleyball campaign with a win.

Australian duo Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy were untroubled in opening their Tokyo Olympics beach volleyball campaign with a straight-sets win.

The Commonwealth Games silver medallists beat Cuban pair Lidianny Echevarria Benitez and Leila Consuelo Martinez Ortega 21-15 21-14 in 40 minutes on the sand at Shiokaze Park.

The victory lifted them to the top of Pool E, with Italy and the Russian Olympic Committee - the other teams in the pool - due to open proceedings in Sunday's afternoon session.

Clancy dominated on serve with four aces, with her quickest registered at a lightning 73km/h, while she also showcased her strength at the net to pick up two block points.

The opening set began in competitive fashion as Australia held a slender 6-5 lead before winning five of the next six points, and led 19-10 before Cuba added some respectability to the scoreboard late.

The second set was far tighter, the Aussies winning six of the last seven points to close out the win.

Australia forced their Cuban opponents into 15 errors for the match, and can go a long way towards sewing up the top-two finish they need to guarantee progression to the round of 16 when they take on Italians Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Ortsi Toth on Wednesday.

Australian Associated Press