Misty May Treanor, Kerri Walsh Crush Italy, Advance To Beach Volleyball Semifinals

Two-time Olympic champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings held nothing back on Sunday as they crushed Italy in straight sets to advance to the semifinals in the 2012 beach volleyball tournament in London.

“I don’t want to let our opponents breathe. I don’t want to give them an edge. I don’t want them to feel comfortable for one second out there,” May-Treanor, 35, said after she and Walsh Jennings destroyed Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari 21-13, 21-13.

So dominant was the American duo, in fact, that the halfway through the match with the Italians, Menegatti became so flustered and overwhelmed that she briefly broke down in tears.

“I didn’t know that but that’s what you want,” said May-Treanor when a reporter told her what had happened. “Well, it’s not what you want to do but that’s (because of) us being aggressive. She was probably like ‘I don’t know what to do’, and that’s how you get teams in trouble.”

Up next for May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings is China’s Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, which beat Austrian sisters Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger (the first team ever to win an Olympic set off Walsh and May-Treanor) 21-18, 21-11 earlier Sunday.

The Washington Post reports that the Chinese pair, which won the bronze medal in 2008 but did not face Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor in Beijing, has beaten them in their last three meetings, including a 21-14, 21-14 final in Moscow that was over in 34 minutes.

“We’re a different team since then,” Walsh Jennings said after of the Chinese team. “We’re going to come out and give it all we can, because we have to.”