BEIJING With a Round of 16 beach volleyball victory Saturday night, the U.S. tandem of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal advanced to Monday night's
quarterfinals, where they will meet Brazil's side of Ricardo Santos and
Emanuel Rego, the defending Olympic champions.
Gibb and Rosenthal needed just two sets but an extra-long first set to eliminate Spain's Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa, 26-24, 21-17.
Herrera was part of Spain's silver-medalist pair in 2004.
Gibb credited Rosenthal for the win.
"That was the best I've ever seen from my partner," said the Bountiful
native. "We were under pressure and he absolutely carried me. ... He showed
what he could do on the biggest stage of all, and he was amazing."
Gibb punctuated the victory with an emotional celebration.
"It was a moment I'll remember forever," he said. "Every game we win, we
celebrate like that it's how we feel after every match. It's like I'm on
'Fantasy Island.' "
If Gibb and Rosenthal win their next match, they'll have reason to
celebrate again if they beat Ricardo-Emanuel (yes, they go by their first
names). Not only did the Brazilian side win the gold medal in Athens four
years ago, the two were world tour's top-ranked side from 2004 to 2007.
But they were tested in their Round of 16 match after Gibb and
Russia's Barsuk/Kolodinskiy won the first set 21-18 before
Ricardo/Emanuel rallied to win the second 25-23 and the third 15-12.