The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of April Ross and Lauren Fendrick will play for the world title after defeating the No. 2 team in the world in the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on Friday in Vienna, Austria.
Ross and Fendrick will face Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, the reigning Olympic gold medalists, at 8:30 a.m. ET on Saturday for the gold. The tournament is second in prestige only to the Olympics.
Ross and Fendrick started the day by defeating Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, 2-0 (21-16, 21-10), in the quarterfinals. With fellow Americans Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat losing to Ludwig and Walkenhorst 2-0 in the quarterfinals, that left Ross and Fendrick as the only U.S. women’s team remaining in the tournament.
They faced another Canadian foe in the semifinals. Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes came into the tournament as the No. 2 team in the world and the No. 7 seed, and the Canadian duo took the first set, 21-19. However, Ross and Fendrick battled back in the second, winning 21-16 to force the tiebreaker. They then won that set, 15-11, for a 2-1 match victory.
Ross and Fendrick joined forces this season after playing in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 with other partners. Ross is a two-time Olympian, having won a silver medal in 2012 in London. She won bronze in Rio competing with Kerri Walsh Jennings, while Fendrick and partner Sweat tied for 19th.
It will be the first time an American team has played in the women’s final since Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2011, when the duo won a silver medal. Ross won the world title in 2009 with Jennifer Kessy and finished fourth in 2013 with Whitney Pavlik.
Summer Ross and Sweat finished the tournament tied for fifth place.
On the men’s side, the No. 3 seed team of Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena advanced to the quarterfinals, where they fill face Russia’s Nikita Liamin and Viacheslav Krasilnikov at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.