The pair on Monday defeated China’s Wang Fan and Yue Yuan in a 21-16, 21-9 win. They ended the match on a 16-4 run that China was unable to overcome. They will play Switzerland on Wednesday.
Kerri Walsh Jennings may not have longtime partner Misty May-Treanor in Rio de Janiero, but the result on the sand hasn’t changed. The three-time Olympic gold medalist and teammate April Ross outgunned China’s Wang Fan and Yue Yuan in a straight sets victory on Monday night.
The duo overcame a slow start to cruise past Wang/Yue in a 21-16, 21-9 win. Walsh Jennings and Ross finished the match on a 16-4 run that buried Wang and Yue and improved the Americans’ record to 2-0 in Rio de Janeiro.
In their first match of the Olympics, Walsh Jennings and Ross won easily against Australians Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho. They’ve set themselves up solidly to advance to the tournament’s knockout stage.
The top two teams in each pool advance to a single-elimination round of 16, as do two of the six third-place teams. Walsh Jennings and Ross should manage to finish well above that threshold. They’ll finish pool play on Tuesday with a match against the Swiss pairing of Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Vergé-Dépré.
Walsh Jennings and Ross are new partners for these Olympics, though they started playing together in 2013. Walsh Jennings has won three consecutive Olympic golds, all with now-retired partner Misty May-Treanor. The last, in London in 2012, game against Ross and then-partner Jennifer Kessy. Getting back to the top level of the medal podium this year won’t be easy, with a couple of competitive pairs who could get in Walsh Jennings and Ross’ way.