April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings finished 3-0 in pool play Thursday at the Federation Internationale de Volleyball Gstaad Grand Slam.
Ross, a Costa Mesa resident and a former Newport Harbor High standout, and Walsh Jennings needed to dig deep to fight back against Brazil's Maria Clara and Carolina Salgado to win 19-21, 21-12, 15-10 to reach the elimination rounds with three wins.
The match was only Walsh Jennings' third on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour after she returned from giving birth to her third child in April.
She and Ross are playing together for the first time as a team in Gstaad. London 2012 silver medallist Ross will return to her long-term partner Jennifer Kessy for the Long Beach Grand Slam July 22-27, in which Walsh is due to play alongside Whitney Pavlik, a former UC Irvine standout. Then toward the end of 2013 Ross and Walsh will go fulltime and through to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games as a team.
On the opening day of the tournament Wednesday the pair beat Dutch duo Jantine van der Vlist and Marloes Wesselink and Austria's Barbara Hansel and Katharina Schutzenhofer.
The Gstaad Grand Slam is the fifth Grand Slam of 10 on the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The tournament began with women's qualifying on Tuesday and ends with women's and men's medal matches on Sunday July 13.