No. 2 US beach team on brink of making Sweet 16

Aug. 12, 2008, 1:08 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Americans Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal needed just 39 minutes to beat German duo Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckman in the Olympic beach volleyball round-robin Tuesday.

After their 21-15, 21-13 victory, the Americans are 2-0 and on the verge of advancing to the medal round.

That puts them ahead of fellow Americans Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser - but only in the standings.

"Not even close," Gibb said Tuesday night when asked if they had become the top U.S. men's team on the sand. "They're the No. 1 team in the world. You don't win two matches and all of the sudden claim the mantle of best team."

Gibb and Rosenthal play Japan's Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori in the round-robin finale on Thursday, and only an odd series of forfeits could keep them out of the Round of 16.

Dalhausser and Rogers, the reigning world champions and the overwhelming favorites to win the gold medal, lost their opener to a Latvian pair seeded 23rd in the 24-team field. But the Americans recovered with an easy victory on Monday, and they could also reach the Round of 16 with a win on Wednesday (or even, in some scenarios, with a loss).

Dalhausser and Rogers could still win their pool and hold onto their high seed, or they could be a tough early round draw for some unlucky team.

Gibb and Rosenthal wouldn't be looking forward to it: They're 7-25 against their highly decorated countrymen, though Gibb and Rosenthal won the last time they met.

"We beat them once," Gibb said. "They beat us (about) 28 times."

Americans Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor also improved to 2-0 with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Tamara Larrea - their 103rd consecutive win. The other U.S. women's team, Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs, is 2-0 with the finale on Wednesday.

In other action Tuesday, Efthalia Koutroumanidou and Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece defeated Judith Augoustides and Vitalina Nel of South Africa, 21-12, 21-8; Norway's Nila Haakedal and Ingrid Toerlen beat Mika Saiki and Chiaki Kusuhara of Japan 21-8, 21-18; and Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia of Mexico beat Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karantasiou of Greece 21-17, 16-21, 15-12; Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China beat Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller of Germany 21-14, 21-18; and Brazil's Renata Ribeiro and Talita Rocha beat Austrian sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger 21-18, 21-19.

On the men's side, Wu Penggen and Xu Linyin of China survived a scare by Estonians Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik to win 15-21, 21-11, 15-13; Clemens Doppler and Peter Gartmayer of Austria upset Brazilians Marcio and Fabio 20-22, 21-19, 15-11; Asahi and Shiratori beat Bram Ronnes and Emiel Boersma of the Netherlands 21-15, 23-25, 15-11; Igor Kolodinskiy and Dmitry Barsuk of Russia beat Riccardo Lione and Eugenio Amore of Italy, 21-17, 21-13; and Pablo Herrera and Raul Mesa of Spain beat Florian Gosch and Alexander Horst of Austria, 21-14, 21-12.