Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were tested Friday as the German pair of Laura Ludwig and Julia Sude took them to three sets for the first time at the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball, but the Americans came away with the victory at the FIVB Grand Slam event at Long Beach after winning the tiebreaking set, 17-15.
Walsh Jennings and Ross won a closely contested first set, 21-18, then the Germans rode an early lead to 21-18 win in the second set. In the third set, Sude missed a serve on 14-13 match point, and Walsh Jennings and Ross came back for the victory.
Walsh Jennings and Ross exited their last two tournaments in the round of 16, finishing tied for ninth. This time, they move on to Saturday's quarterfinals.
"I absolutely appreciate that win so much because we just went through being sent home the past two weeks," Walsh Jennings said.
Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal, currently the top men's team in the world and the No. 1 U.S. pair, earned a three-set quarterfinal win over the Dutch team of Jon Stiekema and Christiaan Varenhorst.
The Americans lost the first set, 22-20, but charged back to win the next two, 21-17 and 15-13. Rosenthal sealed the match and advanced his team to Saturday's semifinals with a well-placed tip.
"That one felt good because they gave us a smashing in Berlin in pool play" a month ago, Dalhausser said.