April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings (Courtesy of FIVB)
Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2014 – April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings claimed their first Grand Slam gold medal of 2014 when they defeated reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour champions Talita Antunes and Taiana Lima on Sunday.
The USA pair defeated the Brazilians 2-1 (21-17, 22-24, 15-13) in a match that swung backwards and forwards between two determined teams until Ross and Walsh nudged ahead right at the end of the third set before winning with their second match point.
“They came to win, they are a very good team and we were the number one and two seeds in the tournament so I think we both wanted to be here,” Ross said.
“I loved how we pulled it out in the end. We played as a team and it feels really good to win again.”
It is Ross and Walsh Jennings’ second gold medal of 2014 after they won the season opening Fuzhou Open in China. They first teamed up in mid-2013 and won the Sao Paolo and Xiamen Grand Slams before the end of the year.
The pair joined together after their previous partners – Misty May-Treanor and Jennifer Kessy – retired from the sport. Walsh Jennings is targeting a fourth Olympic gold at Rio de Janeiro 2016, having won her third against Ross at London 2012.
They now move on to the Berlin Grand Slam, the second of seven Grand Slams in an eight week period.
“It is so huge,” Walsh Jennings added. “Every win is important on the World Tour and we cherish and learn from every one. I virtually gave away set two because I set like a rookie and I’m so proud with how we stuck together. April didn’t quit on me, she didn’t get mad at me.
“They were relentless and it is great to start this long run of matches with a win and now it is on to Berlin.”
For Talita and Lima the silver medal is their first of the season and sets them up well for a period that features seven Grand Slams in eight weeks.
In 2014 they won five Grand Slam gold medals on their way to the World Tour title in only their first year together, but lost to Ross and Walsh in the Sao Paolo final.
“It was a hard game,” Talita said. “I think they served better than us, but it was a good match, a final. I think the people here enjoyed it and it was good for them to watch and good for Kerri and April to win.
“It is good to be back in a final again, but now we have to forget about this and think about Berlin. We won there last year and I think there is a good vibe there for us.”
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Berlin Grand Slam which runs from June 17-22.
Watch the women’s bronze and gold medal matches of the Berlin Grand Slam on Universal Sports on Sunday, June 22 at 4 PM ET.
(From FIVB Press Release)