Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were upset in the quarterfinals of their final beach volleyball tournament of the season, denying a possible first-time meeting with a new Brazilian pair that could be their biggest threat to Rio Olympic gold.
The second-seeded Walsh Jennings and Ross fell 21-16, 21-17 to an 11th-seeded Italian pair at the Sao Paulo Grand Slam.
Walsh Jennings and Ross, in their first full season together, went undefeated on the domestic AVP Tour and won four FIVB World Tour events, to this point twice that of any other team.
However, a new Brazilian pair of two-time Olympian Larissa and Talita captured the two previous FIVB Grand Slam events in August. Larissa and Talita were to play top-seeded Brazilian pair Juliana and Maria Antonelli in a later quarterfinal Friday.
The 2015 season is highlighted by the World Championships in the Netherlands next summer.