American April Ross was the “kid” alongside beach volleyball immortal Kerri Walsh Jennings when they won a bronze medal at the Rio Games in 2016 at ages 34 and 39.
Now Ross, at 36, is the senior partner with her newest associate, 28-year-old Alix Klineman and the pair won their second FIVB World Cup 4-star tournament at the Yangzhou Open, defeating Brazil’s Ana Patricia Silva and Rebecca Cavalcanti in straight sets.
“We had to focus on our side,” Ross said. “They served very tough but Alix sided out very well. We just had to figure out to get some points here and there. It was really tough to play against them.”
It was Ross’s 23rd FIVB World Tour victory in her career, which started back in 2006, and the second for Klineman, for whom 2018 was her first year on the Tour. This is a promising pair; since joining together, they have reached the quarterfinals or better in six of the eight World Tour events they have entered. They are currently the top-ranked American team, standing no. 8 worldwide.
In the men’s division, another first-year team, Russians Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov won their second tournament, 2-1, over fellow Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy. Semenov and Leshukov had also won the 3-star event in Mersin (TUR) earlier in the year.
Next up is the first World Tour 4-star tournament in Las Vegas, starting on Wednesday! Summaries:
FIVB World Tour 4-star
Yangzhou (CHN) ~ 10-14 October 2018
(Full results here)
Men: 1. Konstantin Semenov/Ilya Leshukov (RUS); 2. Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS); 3. Guto Albrecht/Saymon Barbosa (BRA); 4. Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter (CAN).
Semis: Semenov/Leshukov d. Pedlow/ Schachter, 2-0; Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy d. Guto/Saymon, 2-0. Third: Guto/Saymon d. Pedlow/Schachter, 2-0 (forfeit due to injury to Pedlow). Final: Semenov/Leshukov d. Krailnikov/ Stoyanovskiy, 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 15-13).
Women: 1. Alix Klineman/April Ross (USA); 2. Ana Patricia Silva/Rebecca Cavalcanti (BRA); 3. Sara Hughes/Summer Ross (USA); 4. Saran Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes (CAN).
Semis: Ana Patricia/Rebecca d. Hughes/Summer, 2-0; Klineman/Ross d. Pavan/Humana-Paredes, 2-1. Third: Hughes/Summer d. Pavan/Humana-Paredes, 2-1. Final: Klineman/Ross d. Ana Patricia/Rebecca, 2-0 (21-19, 21-16).