RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's male beach volleyball pair Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt made a winning start in their hunt for gold on Saturday, beating their Canadian oponents in straight sets on Copacabana's golden sand.
Both games were close, but Brazil's gold medal favorites fed on a festive, partisan crowd to defeat Josh Binstock and Samuel Schachter 2-0.
"It was incredible," Cerutti told Reuters still beaming after the performance.
With beach volleyball one of Brazil's favorite sports, particularly in Rio where nets dot the coastline, local athletes were fired up by an enthusiastic crowd waving green-and-yellow flags, many wearing swimsuits.
"To start an Olympics at home, to see this crowd shouting Brazil, it's a dream come true," added Cerutti.
Brazil were not given an easy ride and fell behind in the second set, but scrambled back to make it 20-20.
The next point proved to be vital with the Canadians left to rue a crucial challenge that did not go their way after Binstock fouled at the net. They said the hostile crowd, which booed at times, had made things difficult.
One point later, the match was over and the crowd erupted as the Brazilian pair signed the ball and launched it into the crowd.
Brazil will now prepare to play Austria on Monday.
"The focus is to play and win... Gold comes as a result of that," said Cerutti. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Ken Ferris)