It’s the U.S. versus Brazil in a showdown at the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball finals, live on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and silver medalist partner April Ross surprised themselves by reaching the final of the U.S.’ top annual beach volleyball tournament in Long Beach, Calif.
That’s because Walsh Jennings has served underhand this past week and hit with her left hand as she recovers from dislocating her right shoulder in a match for the second time in two months July 10. That shoulder, which has been operated on four times during her career, has been taped throughout the tournament.
Nevertheless, Walsh Jennings and Ross reached their first FIVB World Tour final since they won last year’s World Series of Beach Volleyball.
On Sunday, they’ll play Brazilians Larissa and Talita for the title. Larissa and Talita and Walsh Jennings and Ross were the best teams on tour last season, each winning four tournaments, but the pairs’ only head to head before Sunday was Feb. 27 in a one-set exhibition won by the Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro.
This matchup could determine the early favorite for Rio 2016 gold.
Later, in the men’s final, 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and new parter Nick Lucena will take on the World champions from Brazil, Alison and Bruno.
Dalhausser, the reigning FIVB Player of the Year, is playing his first FIVB World Tour event since splitting from two-time Olympian partner Sean Rosenthal in July.