Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena topped Tunisia’s Mohamed Arafet Naceur and Choaib Belhaj Salah 21-7, 21-13 to win their first match of the men’s Olympic beach volleyball tournament on Sunday.
The U.S. men took an early three-point lead in the first set. The pair managed to build a point gap that the Tunisian men could not overcome to quickly take the first set 21-7.
Tunisa took the lead at 4-3 in the second set but an unforced error tied the teams at 4-4. Dalhausser and Lucena managed to pulled away after 6-6 to lead 10-7 going into Tunisia’s timeout. An ace serve, followed by a block at the net from Naceur, brought the Tunisian men within a point of the Americans. U.S. men lead 11-10 as they entered a technical timeout. The U.S. men pulled away to win the match 21-7, 21-13.
Dalhausser, who won gold in his Olympic debut alongside Todd Rogers at the Beijing Games, paired with Nick Lucena in 2015. While their current partnership was formed just over a year ago, the pair have prior experience playing on the same side of the net — Dalhausser and Lucena made their professional beach volleyball debuts together in 2003. They played for two more seasons until they split in 2005.
The U.S. men must be ranked among the top two teams of their pool to advance to the Round of 16. They will play their next preliminary match against Mexico’s Virgen/Ontiveros on Aug 9. at 10:00 a.m. ET.