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After setback, beach volleyball gold favorite finally in top eight
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Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the United States were finally in top eight of the men's beach volleyball tournament after playing three sets at the Olympic Games on Saturday.

The Beijing Games gold favorites led Swiss duo Martin Laciga and Jan Schnider 21-16 in the first set of their match of 16 duel but was outscored in the second as the set ended 23-21 in favor of the Swiss.

Another difficult situation tested the Americans when the third set went into 6-0 in favor of the Swiss but the 2007 world champions managed to come from behind, ending the third set 15-13.

To bounce back at the time of 0-6 deficit was "a great feeling," Dalhausser said after the match.

"I was bumped, but I still felt that we had a shot. I never thought we would lose and that in the end we could do a huge comeback," said the 2.06-meter man.

"Volleyball is like that. There's no easy way to mentally force an energy shift and it is such a mental swing," he said.

Dalhausser was FIVB World Tour best blocker in 2006 and 2007 and best hitter in 2007 while his partner was best FIVB World Tour defensive player in 2006 and 2007.

The two are considered Beijing Olympics gold favorites for their momentum of winning in prominent competitions in the past two years. They are also placed first on the Olympic qualification ranking.

They are five-time FIVB World Tour gold medalists and in 2007 they won the FIVB World Championships in Gstaad, Switzerland. With a 21-match winning streak this year, the U.S. duo entered the Beijing Olympics.

The Americans are 1-1 this year against Brazilians Emanuel Ricardo and Ricardo Santos, Athens Games champions.

"We're confident but we hate to say we're favourites. In my opinion Ricardo and Emanuel (of Brazil) are the favorites," Dalhausser said.

"But being considered favourite is pretty cool," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2008)

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