Rio bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross bounced back from an Olympic upset to win the biggest annual tournament in the U.S. on Sunday.
Walsh Jennings and Ross captured the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball title in Long Beach, Calif., for the second time in three years. They beat Spanish pair Liliana Fernández and Elsa Baquerizo 21-16, 21-16 in the final.
“We love those girls so much, they are dear friends of ours,” Walsh Jennings said. “We wanted to beat them down.”
Absent from Long Beach were Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany and silver medalists Ágatha and Bárbara of Brazil.
Walsh Jennings and Ross, who lost to Ágatha and Bárbara in the Olympic semifinals, dropped a total of two sets in seven undefeated matches this past week.
They earned their fifth international title of the year after winning none in 2015, last season shortened by Walsh Jennings’ fifth right shoulder surgery.
In the men’s final, Brazil’s No. 2 pair, Pedro and Evandro, beat top U.S. pair Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena 19-21, 21-17, 15-9.
Olympic champions Alison and Bruno of Brazil did not compete in Long Beach.
The beach volleyball season continues with the FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto in two weeks.Follow @nzaccardi