It was only a matter of time, but Kerri Walsh Jennings has surpassed former teammate Misty May Treanor to become the winningest female beach volleyball player in history.
Walsh Jennings and April Ross defeated the world’s top ranked team of Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes of Brazil in three sets on Sunday in Xiamen, China giving the Manhattan Beach resident 113 career tournament victories including her 21st Grand Slam and 46th World Tour event.
May Treanor retired after she and Walsh Jennings won their third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 2012 Games in London.
Seeded fifth, Walsh Jennings and Ross defeated Lima and Talita 21-14, 17-21, 15-12 to capture their second straight Grand Slam after winning in Say Paulo two weeks ago.
“My new partner is wonderful, in so many ways,” Walsh Jennings stated on the USA Volleyball website. “She is such an amazing volleyball player. She makes my life on the court very, very easy.
“Her energy is great, her target is great and her skills are unbelievable. So it’s going to be very fun partnership.”
The duo formed the partnership earlier this season after Ross fulfilled her commitment with former partner Jennifer Kessy. Walsh Jennings and Ross are making a run for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Walsh Jennings would be pursuing her fourth gold medal.
“Yes. We are going for gold for the next Olympic Games,” Walsh Jennings said. “It’s fantastic. It’s such a great start. We are going to have a great off-season, and then go to work and come back next year even stronger and keep chasing our dreams.”
Ross, who now has six Grand Slam championships, is excited for what the future holds.
“I can’t say it’s what I expected necessarily, but it’s what I hoped for and we had to fight really hard,” Ross said. “We didn’t start this tournament out very good, and we had to fight for every point and we got much better toward the end. I love starting our partnership with two gold medals, that’s amazing.”
Walsh Jennings missed the opportunity to set the new record on American soil when she and Ross lost to third-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Britaany Hochevar 21-15, 21-17 in the semifinals of the AVP Huntington Beach Open on Oct. 20.