LONDON: Twice Olympic beach volleyball champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will battle for a third gold in an all-American women's final against Jennifer Kessy and April Ross on Wednesday.
May-Treanor and Walsh are the only pair of either gender to successfully defend an Olympic title in beach volleyball since the sport's Games debut in Atlanta in 1996. They won gold in Athens in 2004 and again in Beijing in 2008.
Kessy and Ross, world champions in 2009, have been one of the strongest teams on the circuit for several years but they are usually in the shadow of May-Treanor and Walsh.
Wednesday's final is a rare opportunity for the number two U.S. pair to take the spotlight away from their illustrious compatriots.
Appearing in their first Olympics, Kessy and Ross were expected to do well, but it was still a shock when they beat Brazilian world champions Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca by two sets to one (15-21 21-19 15-12) in Tuesday's semi-final.
They are unlikely to be given an easy ride by May-Treanor and Walsh, who have said they want to crush all their opponents regardless of where they are from.
The defending champions fought off a dynamic Chinese duo in the semi-finals. Zhang Xi and Xue Chen, bronze medallists in Beijing, raced to an early lead against May-Treanor and Walsh but the Californians kept cool under pressure, deployed some imaginative tactics. (Reuters/tw)