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Water polo Stingers hammer GB, make worlds quarters

EPA PHOTO

Australia's water polo women have powered into the quarter-finals of the world championships in Doha, maintaining their proud record of never having failed to make the last eight in any of the event's 17 editions.

The Stingers were in sharp form from the start against Great Britain in their last-16 encounter in Doha on Saturday, racing to a 6-0 lead, which gave them all the control they needed as they went on to overpower their opponents 20-8.

It only gets harder for them, though, as the victory sets up a quarter-final date with the US Olympic champions.

It's a tall order for the Aussies, who are seeking to win the title for the first time since the inaugural edition in 1986.

The Stingers haven't made a final since 2013, when they lost to hosts Spain in Barcelona.

"I'm pretty elated," said the Stingers' Abby Andrews, who top-scored with six goals.

"We knew we had to put a strong foot forward for tonight. Obviously, we haven't played Great Britain in this group, so we didn't really know what they were going to throw at us, so we made it our pact that we would come out strong, as we've struggled in the last few games."

The Australians had lost their final preliminary round match to Hungary, but looked much sharper on Saturday, enjoying a second-quarter surge against GB with six straight goals to lead 12-3 at half-time.

Andrews took her tally to half a dozen in the final quarter, and Bronte Halligan, Bridget Leeson-Smith and Tilly Kearns all ended with hat-tricks.

"We were quite technical, lots of balls in the centre,'' Andrews said.

"We kept our wings really deep and played a really clean, open attack and we defended great.

"We got heaps of steals, lots of blocks, and there are things we can tidy up on, but other than that, pretty good."

Their quarter-final against the Americans, who won all their group matches in ominously comfortable fashion, will take place on Monday.

The Australian men, who have lost two of their three matches so far in Doha, will tackle their last-16 contest against France on Sunday (Monday AEDT).