LONDON - Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor beat Italy in straight sets in the beach volleyball quarterfinals Sunday to remain on track for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal.
The Americans earned a berth in the semifinals against Beijing bronze medalists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi. The Chinese team has beaten the two-time defending Olympic champions the last three times they've met, including the final of the Moscow Grand Slam last month.
"We're a different team since then," Walsh Jennings said after beating Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari 21-13, 21-13. "We're going to come out and give it all we can, because we have to."
The Chinese team, which lost its first match in London, beat Austrian sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger 21-18, 21-11. Although they have nine losses and five wins against the Americans, they have not lost to Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor in a year, including a 21-14, 21-14 victory in Moscow this June.
"Losing is one thing," Walsh Jennings said. "But losing in a way that you can't walk away with your heads held high is another. Misty and I have really come together. We've looked at ourselves individually and as a team."
In the other quarterfinals, the No. 2 U.S. women's team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross beat the Czech Republic 25-23, 21-18. The Americans will play the winner of the remaining quarterfinal between top-seeded Larissa and Juliana of Brazil and Germany.