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Page last updated at 02:17 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 03:17 UK

US pair face Chinese favourites

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Video - US duo step closer to retaining gold

Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are one step closer to defending their Olympic beach volleyball crown after defeating Brazil in the semi-finals.

The United States pair beat Renata Ribeiro and Talita Rocha 21-12 21-14 to advance through to the gold medal game.

Walsh and May will play China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie, who beat compatriots Xue Chen and Zhang Xi 22-24 29-27 15-8 in the second semi-final.

The US pair will be clear favourites, having not lost a match for a year.

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Video - Tian and Wang win all-China semi

"We've accomplished one goal - to get to the gold medal match - but we're not done yet. We want to get out there and kick butt against the Chinese on their home soil," said Walsh.

The US has now made the podium in all four Olympic tournaments since 1996 - and Brazilian Ribeiro thinks gold is a certainty.

"It is so difficult to win against them like this," she said. "They are perfect. Nobody is going to beat them."

We'll just focus on the match, we will not be disturbed by the audience

Misty May-Treanor
Just as she did four years ago, May-Treanor sprinkled some of her mother's ashes on the sand before the semi-final, saving another portion for a similar ceremony before the final.

Tian and Wang will be cheered on by a capacity crowd, but May says that will not affect their performance on Thursday.

"We'll just focus on the match, we will not be disturbed by the audience," she said.




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Volleyball medals table

Sunday, 24 August 2008 10:17 UK
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 also show each event results forBrazil 1 1 0 2
Men 0 1 0
Women 1 0 0
2 also show each event results forUSA 1 1 0 2
Men 1 0 0
Women 0 1 0
3 also show each event results forChina 0 0 1 1
Women 0 0 1
4 also show each event results forRussia 0 0 1 1
Men 0 0 1

see also
Olympics blog
07 Aug 08 |  Olympics
US duo on course to defend title
12 Aug 08 |  Volleyball
Beijing 2008
14 Feb 08 |  Olympics


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