Veterans Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat and youngsters Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil are into Saturday’s quarterfinals of the four-star FIVB Moscow.
Walsh Jennings and Sweat, seeded 10th, scored a tough victory Friday over 24th-seeded Chen Xue and Xinxin Wang of China 21-18, 16-21, 19-17. They will play fourth-seeded Brazilians Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti on Saturday.
Claes and Sponcil, the sixth seed, knocked out 12th-seeded Andrea Strbova and Natalia Dubovcova 21-16, 21-9. They will play 15th-seeded Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland.
On Thursday, Walsh Jennings celebrated her 41st birthday. Friday, it was Sponcil’s birthday as she turned 23.
“Nothing like to win on your birthday! That’s all I wanted today and I am really excited,” Sponcil told the FIVB. “My friends and I are going out to dinner and try to celebrate as much as we can, but making sure we’re ready for tomorrow as well.”
The other quarterfinals show Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo of Spain facing Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude of Germany, and Taiana Lima and Talita Antunes of Brazil against Italians Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth. Friday was also Mengatti’s 29th birthday, while Toth celebrated her 29th on Wednesday.
Two other USA pairs were eliminated Friday. Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman were knocked out by Lima and Antunes 21-15, 21-19, and 11th-seeded Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb lost to fifth-seeded Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo 21-19, 16-14.