Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross beat China’s Wang/Yue 21-16, 21-9 to win their second match of pool play.
Both teams entered the match with one preliminary win under their belt. Walsh Jennings/Ross topped Australia’s Artacho del Solar/Laird 21-14, 21-3 while China’s Wang/Yue won 24-22, 18-21, 15-12 against Forrer/Verge-Depre of Switzerland.
The U.S. women took to the sands for their second midnight match, a new addition to the Olympic Games, with China taking an early lead. Walsh Jennings/Ross responded to pull ahead, gaining a two-point lead at 11-9. April Ross scored the final point with an attack off the block to take the first set 21-16. The U.S. women quickly took the second set to top the Chinese women 21-16, 21-9.
Kerri Walsh Jennings appears to be back in full force less than a year after her undergoing her fifth shoulder surgery. Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder twice during the 2015 season and took four months off to recover from her surgery before before returning to the sand in January 2016.
The pair now boast two preliminary wins and are guaranteed a spot in the Round of 16. However, Walsh Jennings and Ross acknowledged the work ahead of them.
“We have five more matches to win the gold medal and every minute we’re going to absorb it and soak it in,” Walsh Jennings said in a post-match interview. “We’re going to really celebrate this but we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Walsh Jennings and Ross will play Forrer/Verge-Depre (SUI) in their third and final preliminary match on Aug. 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET