Duo to learn lessons from defeat

31 July 2012 / 21:50

Great Britain's Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney are determined to learn the lessons from their sobering defeat to Italy when they bid to seal their place in the last 16 of the Olympic beach volleyball competition against Russia on Thursday.

Italian duo Greta Cicolari and Marta Mengatti are dark horses to get among the medals after a solid season on the World Tour and proved their class against the home favourites at Horse Guards Parade with a 21-18 21-12 win that takes them safely into the knockout stage.

The match represented an increased degree of difficulty from Britain's opening Pool F win over Canada, with the Italians the current European champions and ranked sixth in the world, behind only the likes of powerhouses Brazil, the United States, China and Holland.

Defeat against such calibre of opposition is therefore no disgrace, and the British pair are adamant they can turn the experience into a force for good when they face Russia's Evgeniya Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova, when a win will see them progress alongside the Italians.

"We'll have done our homework, we'll have a gameplan and we'll come out fighting again. If we beat them we'll be second in our pool," Mullin said.

Certainly improvements need to be made following the performance against Italy, when nerves were clearly in evidence.

"My finish, my touch, just wasn't there," said Mullin. "Some of those balls that pinged off me I should have really finished. It's all just little tweaks we have to get right for Thursday.

"I felt under pressure with their serves, they're both good servers and I just wasn't able to stick up to it."

On the confusion between the two on some service points, Mullin added: "The wind was quite swirly so we just wanted to make sure that when they were serving down the middle we were both not running away from it.

"I guess we were both running towards it, which is a lot better than both of us leaving it!"