Australian Taliqua Clancy (left) hits at the World Tour Finals net against Canadian Sarah Pavan during an opening pool play match at Rothenbaum Stadium on Wednesday.
Hamburg, Germany, August 15, 2018 - After losing the gold medal match four months ago at the Commonwealth Games to Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy gained revenge here Wednesday by defeating the Canadians in an opening women’s contest at the Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals.
Seeded in seventh in the $800,000 event presented by Vodafone, Artacho and Clancy posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win over sixth-seeded Humana-Paredes and Pavan in a 36-minute Pool B match at Rothenbaum Stadium where three other women’s contests were played Wednesday.
On April 12 in the final of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Artacho and Clancy dropped a 2-0 (21-19, 22-20) decision in 41 minutes to Humana-Paredes and Pavan to disappoint their Australian family, friends and fans.
“At the Commonwealth Games, the pressure was 10 times more,” said the 24-year old Artacho, who is playing her first full season with Clancy. “It’s always going to be a tough game against them but yes, we knew they had one on us so maybe they had a little more pressure than us. The start today was very crucial, and you’ve got to start strong or else you find yourself catching up on every single point.”
The 26-year-old Clancy has won four FIVB World Tour gold medals this season with Artacho for the most titles by any men’s or women’s team in Australian international beach volleyball history. “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking too much about the Commonwealth Games. We’re still a fresh team and so any moment we can play the top teams in the world, we really relish these games and take those opportunities when we get them. It’s never easy when you’re battling the top teams in the world,” she said.
Canadian celebration at the Commonwealth Games
Artacho captured an FIVB Under-23 World Championship with Nicole Laird in 2014 - Clancy competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Louise Bawden where the pair placed fifth after being eliminated by Americans April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
The other Pool B contest on Wednesday was the next-to-last match on the opening day schedule with third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil defeating ninth-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 17-15) in 51 minutes. Agatha and Duda placed second in last season’s World Tour Finals by losing the gold medal match to Germany’s Olympic and world champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.
In Pool A matches on Wednesday, fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil defeated 10th-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of the United States 2-0 (24-22, 21-18) in 41 minutes while fifth-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) victory in 35 minutes over eighth-seeded and European champions Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands.
Women’s pool play continues through Saturday morning with six group matches on Thursday. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be played Sunday where the winning team shares the $150,000 first-place prize. The men’s final four matches will be played on Saturday.