April Ross and Alix Klineman Start with a Win in Beach Volleyball


TOKYO – April Ross and Alix Klineman, an American power duo in beach volleyball, kicked off the Olympics with a win on Sunday, beating Chinese team Xue Chen and Wang Xinxin 21-17, 21-19.

Ross, 39, has a silver medal from the 2012 Games in partnership with Jennifer Kessy and a bronze medalist from 2016 with three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings. She hopes to add gold to her collection with 31-year-old Klineman, who switched to beach volleyball in 2017 after her indoor volleyball career.

The match would probably have been more enjoyable if it had been played on a real beach: it was so hot in Shiokaze Park that at least one reporter’s laptop stopped working, and the benches and empty seats in the stadium blocked most of the breeze. from Tokyo Bay.

An early ace, by Ross one of the strongest servers in sportsset the tone for the match, and the Americans were in control for most of the morning. Klineman’s defense, both in the net and while running, prevented the Chinese team from gaining much momentum.

Ross and Klineman, “Alix!” They yelled at each other. and “April!” after big games. Come on, Alix, let’s go, come on,” Ross said as he made a save on the sand and sent the ball to Klineman.

Xue and Wang tied in the second set, and Wang’s one block gave the Chinese a 19-18 lead. Two powerful attacks from Ross, however, reversed that gap, and Klineman scored the game-winning goal to give the Americans their first victory of this tournament.


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