FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Cincinnati Open | 17 - 21 mai 2016


Press release

Top seeds Walsh Jennings/Ross charge to Cincinnati Open semis

With the fire of a three-time Olympic champion in her eyes, USA's Kerri Walsh captured two more victories Friday on their way to the semifinals and medal matches Saturday of the FIVB Cincinnati Open

Mason, Ohio, USA, May 20, 2016 – Once again, Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross powered their way through to the brink of another big finish in a FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event.

That’s pretty much because that’s what they believe they’re supposed to do.

The top-seeded Walsh Jennings and Ross, who hit a bit of a stumble earlier in the day, rolled to a 21-15, 21-13 win over Germany’s Teresa Mersmann and Isabel Schneider Friday evening at the Lindner Family Tennis Center to reach Saturday’s semifinals and medal matches of the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by the AVP.

They will take on fourth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandes of Spain in the semifinals, with the final to be played later in the afternoon as they strive for their third tournament title of the year in five events on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The duo has earned a medal in all four tournaments and has lost only two of 33 matches on the FIVB World Tour in 2016.

“I’m happy with it,” Walsh Jennings said. “I don’t want to put a number on it but I know we have better in us. I’m looking forward to having that come out all day tomorrow. But it’s been really good. I feel like our energy is really positive I feel like we’re really cohesive in defense, which is my favorite part of the entire game, and I feel like we’re doing what we want to do so we’re finding our rhythm.”

Baquerizo and Fernandez, who struggled at the outset of the season, are in the semifinals for the second tournament in a row and have apparently found their footing. They placed second in their previous event, the FIVB Sochi Open in Russia.

“We are very excited because we came from Sochi, where we did a semifinal and know how hard it is to be consistent,” Baquerizo said. “So this is great for us. We are keeping up with our good play.

“It’s the beginning of the season, really, now all the Grand Slams are coming but we think we’re on a good path and we’re doing a great job.”

The other semifinal will match China’s Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia, who easily dispatched Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, 21-19, 21-8, against No. 11 Jantine van der Vlist and Sophie van Gestel of the Netherlands, who eliminated China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue, 19-21, 21-14, 15-10.

Earlier in the day, Walsh Jennings and Ross had to go three sets to defeat compatriots Lane Carico and Summer Ross, but they had no such problems with the German opponents they had already faced in pool play. Ross led the defensive charge with 12 digs.

“We know we have to be on the lookout for how they change because we beat them like we did in pool, they’re going to change something,” Ross said. “We have full confidence were going to adjust and work through it.”

Following this event, Walsh Jennings and Ross will head out on the road to take on the world’s best players in the Moscow Grand Slam and Hamburg Major.

“We’re executing more, we’re more consistent with it,” Walsh Jennings said. “This is not the strongest tournament as far as the level of teams here, but the teams are still very good. So we want to execute against these teams.

“My goal, my vision for us --- I have this written down --- is for us to be great against these teams which we should be great against and to be amazing against the teams that are great. I feel like everything we’re doing here in Cincinnati is preparing us to be amazing against the best teams in the world.”

While the AVP has held domestic tour events in the area every year since 2005, the FIVB is visiting the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area for the first time, The FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP started as a double-gender event with 32 main draw teams per gender.

On Saturday, the final eight matches will be played all on the center court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Starting at 10 a.m. the women’s semifinals and medal matches followed by the two men’s semifinals at 4:30 p.m. After the men’s semis will be the women’s awarding ceremony followed by the men’s medal matches with the men’s awarding ceremony at approximately 10:30 p.m. closing the tournament.

The gold medal teams at the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP, will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 400 points and fourth place $4,500 and 450 points.

With placement points for the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continuing, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour continues with events over eight straight weeks through the end of May.

The FIVB World Tour was in Europe for two events over the last two weeks. Up first was in Russia two weeks followed by last week’s FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (May 10-15). The tour is visiting the United States for the first time in 2016 this week for the FIVB Cincinnati Open, presented by AVP (May 17-21) in Mason, Ohio. Next week, the FIVB World Tour returns to Russia for the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam (May 24-29). After a one week respite, the final Olympic qualifying event on the FIVB World Tour will be the FIVB Hamburg Major Series in Germany (June 7-12).

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