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Americans Alix Klineman, April Ross beat Australia for gold in beach volleyball

Gold medalists April Ross (L) and Alix Klineman of the United States celebrate their victory on Friday during the Tokyo Olympics women's beach volleyball medal ceremony at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Gold medalists April Ross (L) and Alix Klineman of the United States celebrate their victory on Friday during the Tokyo Olympics women's beach volleyball medal ceremony at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Americans Alix Klineman and April Ross won the gold medal on Friday in women's beach volleyball thanks to a commanding performance against Australia at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Klineman and Ross defeated Australians Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy in straight sets.

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The Americans scored seven aces in the victory, four of which came off the hot hands of the 39-year-old Ross who won bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and silver in London four years earlier.

"To get a gold medal finally, just feels so amazing," she told a reporter while draped in an American flag standing beside Klineman.

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"It's amazing. It's so tough. It was such a shot in the dark and for us to get here and do this with this kind of competition just kind of blows my mind."

Klineman, who played indoor volleyball before switching to beach, added that she was "in disbelief."

"This is what we dreamed of and this is why we sacrificed so much and worked so hard but I still don't know if I ever really, like, expected this to come true," she said. "It just feels like such a fairy tale."

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Their game plan, they said, was to out serve the Australians. On top of Ross' four aces, Klineman added three of her own.

Ross, whose mother died of breast cancer in 2001, said it felt like her mother was with her on the court.

"She's on our team, too," an emotional Ross said. "And it means a lot."

The American pair dominated their Aussie opponents during both sets with strong serving and persistent blocking at the net.

The first set started close, but the Americans began to distance themselves with Ross scoring two aces followed by a Klineman block to give them a four-point lead that they followed with an 8-3 run, ending the set 21-15.

The Aussies scored 2 points early in the second set before the Americans went a run that saw them take a 10-2 lead.

The Australians responded with a 3-point run before Ross and Klineman strengthened their lead to 14-5.

The Australians pushed late and forced two match points, but the Americans would take the set 21-16 and the gold medal.

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Tokyo Olympics: Team USA takes gold in beach volleyball

United States' gold medalists April Ross (L) and Alix Klineman arrive for the women's beach volleyball medal ceremony on August 6. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

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