Talita

Lauren Fendrick
FIVB

U.S. women into gold-medal match at beach volleyball worlds

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April Ross, a two-time Olympic medalist, and Lauren Fendrick will play for gold at the world beach volleyball championships, less than three months into their new partnership.

The Americans rallied past Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 19-21, 21-16, 15-11 in Friday’s semifinals in Vienna.

Ross and Fendrick, who paired after Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings split three months ago, will play Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in Saturday’s final.

The last U.S. women’s pair to earn a world medal was Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, who took silver in 2011. Walsh Jennings, 38, is missing worlds after dislocating her five-times surgically repaired right shoulder in a match with new partner Nicole Branagh two weeks ago.

Ross won the 2009 World title and 2012 Olympic silver with former partner Jennifer Kessy and 2016 Olympic bronze with Walsh Jennings.

Beijing Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena lead the men’s teams in Saturday’s quarterfinals. In fact, they are the only team from the Rio Olympic quarterfinals still alive.

Dalhausser and former partner Todd Rogers were the last U.S. men to earn world medals — bronze in 2009 and gold in 2007.

Reigning Olympic and world champions Alison and Bruno were upset by Canadians Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk in the round of 16. That matched the Brazilians’ worst finish since June 2015.

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MORE: World beach volleyball championships broadcast schedule

Beach volleyball: Fendrick/Sweat swept by Larissa and Talita, fall to 0-2

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Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick couldn’t achieve the improbable, and that’s amplified their problems in Rio.

Larissa Franco and Talita Antunes showed why they’re the No. 1 seed in the tournament, as the Brazilian duo bashed Team USA’s No. 2 pairing 21-16, 21-13.

MORE: – Full match replay

The loss drops Fendrick and Sweat to 0-2, and means they’ll need a win against Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova on Thursday just to finish third in their group.

WATCH LIVE: USA’s Fendrick, Sweat take aim at No.1 duo in women’s beach

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The old saying goes, “To be the best, you have the beat the best”.

In the case of Team USA’s Brooke Sweat and Lauren Fendrick, it might be more dire than that.

WATCH LIVE: – USA vs. Brazil  3:30 p.m. EDT

USA’s second pairing lost its first match in women’s beach volleyball’s Pool A and now needs to find a way past World No. 1 duo Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes if it wants to head into its finale in decent shape.

After Tuesday’s match, Fendrick and Sweat will face Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova on Thursday.