Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 11, 2016 - In a confrontation where the winner would play at least one more match in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia out-lasted Americans Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Sweat in a three-set Pool A meeting here Thursday.
With both teams starting the day with a 0-2 record and needing a win to play at least one more match at mid-night in the “lucky loser” round, Birlova and Ukolova posted a 2-1 (21-18, 24-26, 15-13) in 62 minutes over Fendrick and Sweat. It was the fifth-meeting in the international series between the two teams with the Russians now leading 3-2.
With a split of the first two sets, the decider featured eight ties and four lead changes. The Americans led 9-6 and 10-7 before Birlova and Ukolova mounted a charge to take an 11-10 edge. Fendrick and Sweat regained a 13-12 advantage before the Russia surged at the end with three points, including two by Ukolova and one by Birlova.
While the Americans were playing in their first Olympics, Birlova and Ukolova were playing in their second after placing ninth in London. The Russians were 2-1 in pool play at Horse Guard Parade before being eliminated in the first round of bracket play by China’s Chen Xue and Xi Zhang.
In the other Pool A match Thursday, Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil won the group by defeating Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska of Poland 2-0 (21-10, 21-15) in 32 minutes.