LONDON — It will be an all-American final in Olympic women’s beach volleyball pitting Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh against Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, who advanced after an upset win over world champions Brazil on Tuesday.
Two-time Olympic champions May-Treanor and Walsh, a Saratoga native and former Stanford star, held off a fierce Chinese challenge 22-20, 22-20 in their semifinal, bringing closer the prospect of a third gold.
The only team of either gender to defend an Olympic beach volleyball title since the sport’s games debut in Atlanta in 1996, May-Treanor and Walsh won gold in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing four years later.
“We have a goal that we really want to accomplish and we’re planning on accomplishing it,” said Walsh, 33, who has had two babies since she her last Olympic final.
Ross and Kessy scored the biggest shock in the event by beating favorites Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca.
“To be in the position we’re in now is a dream coming true,” Ross said.
The No. 2 U.S. team has spent most of their careers in the shadow of May-Treanor and Walsh. Yet Ross and Kessy were world champions in 2009, when May-Treanor and Walsh were not playing.
On Tuesday, they beat the Brazilians 15-21, 21-19, 15-12.
It was the first major upset of the women’s event and a crushing outcome for Juliana and Larissa.
Juliana missed out on the Beijing Games in 2008 with a knee injury. She said before the games that her dream was to face May-Treanor and Walsh in the final. Instead she and Larissa will play Zhang Xi and Xue Chen in the bronze-medal match.