BEIJING (AP) Too small to compete with the 6-foot-9 Phil Dalhausser, Argentina decided to challenge Todd Rogers instead.
No such luck.
With the defense-minded Rogers leading the attack, the Americans advanced to the beach volleyball medal round on Wednesday with a straight-sets victory over Argentina.
"They were forced to serve to me because Phil is big, and they're not as big as he is," Rogers said. "I enjoy it when people serve me. In general, I enjoy the challenge. It's kind of a mano-a-mano thing."
The reigning world champions and heavily favored U.S. team never trailed in the match, winning 21-12, 21-13 in just 39 minutes. Rogers, forced to attack because Dalhausser was forced to pass, converted 22 of the team's 28 killshots.
"I think I'm a little too tall for them," said Dalhausser, who was left to set for his 6-foot-2 partner.
Dalhausser and Rogers, who lost in their Olympic debut to No. 23 seed Latvia, improved to 2-1 in pool play and must wait until the end of the round-robin on Wednesday night to learn their seed in the final 16.
Argentineans Martin Conde, playing in his fourth Olympics, and Mariano Baracetti, in his third, still had a chance to reach the medal round that begins on Friday.
"We knew we did not have any chance to beat the USA from the beginning," Baracetti said. "We tried to do our best, and as you could see it was not enough."
In the other men's game Wednesday morning, Renato Gomes and Jorge Terceiro of Georgia beat Morais Santos Abreu and Emanuel Fernandes of Angola 21-14, 21-13.
On the women's side, Natalie Cook and Tasmin Barnett improved to 3-0 while beating previously undefeated Brazilians Ana Paula and Larissa 23-21, 23-21. Georgia's Cristine Santanna and Andrezza Martins beat Russians Alexandra Shiryaeva and Natalya Uryadova 10-21, 22-20, 15-12 in a match tainted by the overtones of the war between the two countries.
China's Wang Jie and Tian Jia remained unbeaten by stopping Kathrine Maaseide and Susanne Glesnes of Norway 17-21, 21-14, 15-8. Liesbet van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha of Belgium stayed alive by beating Simone Kuhn and Lea Schwer of Switzerland 21-18, 21-17.