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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross advance in beach volleyball at Rio 2016 Olympics

The Italians led in each set, but Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross rallied to put them away 21-10, 21-16 in just 35 minutes.

By: AP | Rio De Janeiro |
August 13, 2016 1:48:34 pm
Rio 2016 Olympics, Rio Olympics 2016, Rio Olympics, Rio 2016, Olympics 2016, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Kerri Walsh Jennings Olympics, April Ross, April Ross Olympics, Beach Volleyball, Olympics, Sports news, Sports Kerri Walsh Jenningscelebrates a win over Italy with teammate April Ross. (Source: AP)

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross advanced to the quarterfinals of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament with none of the suspense of their previous match.

True, the Italians led in each set, but the Americans rallied to put them away 21-10, 21-16 in just 35 minutes. That made it an early night of sorts for the fans who came out to watch the three-time gold medalist play at midnight.

It was the third time in four Olympic matches that Walsh Jennings and Ross were slotted for the midnight match the better to showcase them on American television. While previous matches had pockets of empty seats this one was packed.

And the Copacabana venue was shaking.

Among those in the stands: U.S. comedian and “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones, who draped an American flag around her shoulders and led her section in cheering.

Walsh Jennings is going for her fourth straight gold medal. Ross won silver in London, losing to Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor in the final. After that match, Walsh Jennings asked Ross to team up for the Rio de Janeiro Games, knowing May-Treanor was retiring.

Four years isn’t all that long for a beach volleyball partnership, but it’s an eternity compared to the Italians.

Menegatti had qualified for Rio with Viktoria Orsi Toth, finishing a comfortable eighth in the world tour standings that fill out most of the field.

But Orsi Toth failed a doping test just days before the Olympics were to begin, and she was replaced by Giombini.

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