TOKYO -- Tested under pressure in their Olympic debut Monday, the U.S. duo of Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil responded like seasoned vets.
Roaring back from a big third-set deficit, Claes/Sponcil ripped off the final six points of the match to beat the Latvian duo of Tina Graudina and Anastaija Kravcenoka in a Pool D preliminary.
"I was definitely nervous at the beginning," Sponcil told NBC.
It didn't show, as the newcomers captured the first set, 21-13. Latvia evened things up with a tremendous defensive effort in the second set, 21-16, and jumped out to an 11-9 lead before Claes/Sponcil turned it around.
"It's for sure been a wild ride," offered Claes, who started playing with Sponcil in 2019. "But I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else."