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U.S. Pair Seeks 3rd Beach Volleyball Title in All-American Final

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings will go for their third straight women’s beach volleyball Olympic title in today’s all-American final.

The U.S. pair beat Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China, the bronze medalists in 2008 in Beijing, 22-20, 22-20, in front of 11,000 spectators yesterday at Horse Guards Parade in London to secure their 20th straight victory at the Olympics.

They’ll defend their title against U.S. teammates April Ross and Jen Kessy, who beat top-seeded Brazilians Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, 15-21, 21-19, 15-12 in the other semifinal.

“We have a huge match,” Walsh Jennings, 33, told reporters. “We have a goal we want to accomplish, after that I am going to be a wreck.”

May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, who won consecutive world championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007, dropped their first Olympic set last week in a 2-1 win against Austria in pool play. Yesterday, the team didn’t hold its first lead until 17-16 in the first set, but rode a late 4-1 run to take a one-set lead.

The U.S. pair trailed 20-19 in the second set before winning the final three points to secure a spot in the final.

“I had a picture in my head at the beginning of the season of how I wanted us to play,” said 35-year-old May-Treanor, who plans to retire after these games. “We’re living that picture, but it’s not over yet.”

Ross and Kessy lost the first set and trailed 14-11 in the second set of their semifinal against the 2011 world champions from Brazil. They rallied to win the set and never trailed in the decider.

“Now I am going to start dreaming about gold,” Ross, 30, said. “We expect to win, we hope to win.”

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