Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat not only bounced back from a tough Saturday semifinals defeat, the American pair rallied from losing an excruciatingly hard first set Sunday to winning bronze at the FIVB Moscow four-star beach volleyball event.
Walsh Jennings and Sweat, the 10th seed, beat 14th-seeded Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude 24-26, 21-18, 15-10. They earned $10,000 and 640 FIVB points.
The gold medal went to 15th-seeded Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre, their first as a pair. They beat 17th-seeded Taiana Lima and Talita Antunes of Brazil 21-18, 16-21, 15-8 for the first gold medal for Switzerland in an event of this level since 2016.
The men’s gold went to Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins as the 18th seed beat second-seeded Brazilians Alison Cerruti and Alvaro Filho 21-12, 21-16. Sixth-seeded German Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler won bronze with a 14-21, 21-12, 22-20 victory over 20th-seeded Brazilians Guto Carvalhaes and Saymon Barbosa.
“We had a really great tournament for the most part. We wanted to win last night (in the semifinals) so badly but to come back and beat this German team, which is so good, and to come back after losing a tough first set, I’m so happy and so proud of our teams,” Walsh Jennings said in the post-match interview with FIVB television.
“We’re finally getting there. We’re getting there.”
This is the third bronze and overall fifth World Tour medal for them since three-time Olympic champion and four-time Olympic medalist Walsh and 2016 Olympian Sweat teamed up last October.
“We had the first set. We just got a little sloppy and let them creep back in,” Sweat said. “We just had to keep our foot on the gas and when we had chances we had to take them and keep the ball in play. We did good when we kept the ball in play.”
Walsh Jennings received two individual awards in Moscow, for best blocker and for fair play. The Russian interviewer asked her to evaluate their performance.
“I give us an A-minus,” Walsh Jennings said. “It was almost an A-plus if we’d taken care of business last night, but this was a great tournament. We’re grateful to the Russian federation for putting this on.
“We have Rome next (the FIVB World Tour Finals September 4-8) and we want to qualify for Tokyo (and the 2020 Olympics), so this is important, Rome is important, it’s all important.”
Kerri Walsh Jennings gets the stuff block in the FIVB Moscow bronze-medal match/FIVB photo