LONDON - Defending world champions Emanuel and Alison of Brazil struggled through an extended first set to beat Italy on Thursday and win their pool in the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.
The Brazilians beat Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 26-24, 21-18.
Thursday was the final day of the preliminary round. The top two teams in each four-person pool advance, with the best third-place teams relegated to a lucky loser round later Thursday.
In other morning action, Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia beat Reinder Nummerdor and Rich Schuil of the Netherlands in a matchup of unbeatens. Both teams advanced to the knockout round.
Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands beat Ana Gallay and Maria Virginia Zonta of Argentina. The Dutch advanced to the knockout round and the Argentines were eliminated.