Branagh, Walsh Leading U.S. Beach Teams in Dubai

Oct. 07, 2008, 6:18 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

Release by:
Jeff Lajoie
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 7, 2008) - New partner, same result for two-time U.S. beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh.

Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.), teaming with fellow Olympian Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) while her usual partner, Misty May-Treanor competed on ABC television's "Dancing With the Stars," breezed through the first two rounds of play at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour beach event at the Jumeirah Beach Park courts in Dubai on Tuesday.

The top-seeded duo defeated the Slovakian pair of Martina Turnerova and Andrea Gorcova, 21-8, 21-10, in just 29 minutes before taking out Finland's Erika and Emilia Nystrom, 23-21, 21-15, in Round 2.

Awaiting Walsh and Branagh in Wednesday's quarterfinal is the ninth-seeded Dutch tandem of Sanne Keizer and Marleen Van Iersel.

Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) of the United States were also impressive on the first day of main draw play as they also won both of their matches and now find themselves in the quarterfinals. Boss and Ross, seeded third, defeated Tatyana Mashkova and Alexandra Turichsheva of Kazakhstan, 21-13, 21-13, in a first-round match that lasted 36 minutes. They followed that win with another sweep, this time of Switzerland's Karin Trüssel and Tanya Guerra Arias-Schmocker, 21-16, 21-16. Boss and Ross will tangle with another Swiss pair, Sarah Schmocker and Isabelle Forrer, on Wednesday.

Lauren Fendrick (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Ashley Ivy (Arlington, Texas) had to win a country quota match against Angie Akers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Brooke Hanson (Woodland Hills, Calif.) on Sunday just to get into the main draw, and did so with a 21-18, 21-14 win over their fellow Americans.

Fendrick and Ivy then followed the win with a victory in Round 1, upsetting the sixth-seeded team of Karin Lundqvist and Angelica Ljungquist from Sweden, 23-25, 21-15, 15-10, in a match that lasted an hour and six minutes.

In the second round, Fendrick and Ivy fell to Schmocker and Forrer, 21-15, 21-15. Next up for Fendrick and Ivy are Yelena Alenkina and Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan on Wednesday, with the winners advancing and the losers finishing in a tie for 17th place.

The 11th-seeded team of Tyra Turner (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.) and Nancy Mason (Belleville, Ill.) got off to a slow start, falling in the first round to Schmocker and Forrer, 21-16, 15-21, 15-12. Facing elimination in their second match of the day however, Turner and Mason beat the Swedish pair of Lundqvist and Ljungquist, 21-13, 21-15, to stay alive. They will meet Cristine Saka and Andrezza Rtvelo of Georgia on Wednesday.

Complete results and photos are available on the FIVB Beach web site at