They're together again -- and dominant as ever.

Top-ranked American beach volleyball duo Misty May and Kerri Walsh, teammates for just the second time in two months, defeated Japan's Chiaki Kusuhara and Ryoko Tokuno, 21-9, 21-16, in preliminary pool play yesterday.

May spent much of the summer rehabbing a pulled abdominal muscle while Walsh played with others and fretted about her favorite partner's status. They played five matches in Hermosa Beach, Calif., in July before May decided she needed more time to recover.

Yesterday, May showed no signs of an injury, leaping and diving with confidence and ease.

"It's fine. No problem," she said. "It felt great to get out there."

The duo showed no rust, either, instantly regaining the chemistry they had while winning 90 consecutive matches between July 2003 and last June.

"Everything was clicking," said the 6-foot-3 Walsh, who turned 26 yesterday. "We didn't miss a beat."

Earlier, Americans Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger rallied from a set down to beat Australians Andrew Schacht and Josh Slack in a match filled with exciting rallies and tense drama. The 12th-seeded Americans staved off two match points in the second set and won, 22-24, 24-22, 15-13. Holdren finished the match by blasting a spike that Schacht couldn't handle from his knees.

"When Dax and I win matches, we have to win like that," Metzger said. "We have to scratch and claw and win the rallies that go back and forth three or four times."

Misty May, above, sets up teammate Kerri Walsh during Americans' victory.