Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and April Ross celebrate a United States point during their match early Sunday morning against Australia.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 7, 2016 - With 12 men’s and women’s Beach Volleyball matches on the schedule here Monday at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, only one contest will feature the “battle of unbeatens” when American Olympic medalists April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings are challenged by China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue.
Both teams won opening Pool C matches early Sunday morning over teams from Australia and Switzerland to set up Monday’s tie-breaker. The match will be the fifth international meeting between the two teams with Ross and Walsh Jennings holding a 3-1 edge after defeating Wang and Yue in a pool match in mid-April at the Xiamen Open in China.
The one Chinese win was at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Netherlands as Wang and Yue posted a 2-1 (21-19, 17-21, 15-13) win in 56 minutes over Ross and Walsh Jennings. It should be noted that Walsh Jennings’ world championship appearance was her first action after missing three FIVB World Tour events with Ross due to a right shoulder dislocation at the 2015 Moscow Grand Slam.
The “battle of unbeatens” was setup when Wang and Yue posted the opening day’s only women’s seed-break-through win by out-lasting Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland 2-1 (24-22, 18-21, 15-12) in the longest match of the Rio Olympics to date (66 minutes). The match started at 11:11 p.m. Saturday (local time) and concluded at 12:21 a.m. Sunday.
Following the Chinese win as Wang and Yue were defeating Forrer and Verge-Depre for the first-time in three international meetings, Ross and Walsh Jennings posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win in 32 minutes over Mariafe Artacho and Nicole Laird of Australia.
Other featured matches Monday will feature three world championship pairs, including Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas. The Brazilians won their world titles at the 2015 finale in The Hague as the gold medal finishes cemented their participation in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Agatha and Barbara, who survived a three-set scare by a Czech Republic team Saturday, will be challenged Monday by South American rivals Ana Gallay and Georgina Klug of Argentina during the mid-day session. The Brazilians have won six of seven international meetings with Gallay and Klug with the last victory over the Argentineans being in mid-March at the Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana.
Alison and Bruno, who defeated a team from Canada Saturday, will play the first match in Monday’s second session against Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst. The Brazilians lead the international series with Doppler and Horst 7-1 with the last meeting a gold medal win for Alison and Bruno at last month’s Porec Major in Croatia.
Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, the 2013 FIVB world champions, will play the last match of the second session against Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen of Germany. The two teams have meet four times internationally with the Dutch leading 3-1 with a quarter-final win over Bockermann and Fluggen at March’s Victoria Open in Brazil.
Here is Monday's schedule.