Brazilian beach volleyball star Emanuel had an extra reason to be upset when his nation's heralded men's soccer team failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Now, most of Brazil has pinned its gold-medal hopes on him and partner Ricardo.
"They put all their confidence on us," Emanuel said. "I can feel everybody cheering us."
So far, the world's top-ranked duo has handled the extra pressure well. They routed Americans Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger, 21-17, 21-10, yesterday to finish a perfect run through pool play.
Despite the loss, the 12th-seeded Americans still advanced to the medal round. They are the last hope for the United States to win a third straight gold medal in beach volleyball. The country's No. 1 pair, Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard, was eliminated after three losses in pool play.
Metzger was optimistic, even after yesterday's loss.
"We're playing the best ball of the year," he said. "A lot of the small stuff, we've really tightened up. We're ready to roll. We just ran into a freight train tonight."
The 16-team single-elimination medal round begins today.
Top-ranked Americans Misty May and Kerri Walsh open against China's Tian Jia and Wang Fei. Fourth-ranked Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs face Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic, who lost 21-17, 21-17 to May and Walsh in pool play last night.