Huntington Beach, USA, May 5, 2018 - Brazil is again leading the way at an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event as the pairs of Fernanda Alves/ Barbara Seixas and Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado advanced to the semifinals of the $300,000 Huntington Beach Open here Saturday with winners' bracket victories over teams from the United States and Canada.
The inaugural Huntington Beach Open concludes Sunday with the women’s and men’s semifinals and medal matches and the winning teams netting the $20,000 first-place prizes. The second of two FIVB World Tour events in the United States this season, the Huntington Beach Open is a partnership between the FIVB and the United States’ premier beach volleyball tour - the AVP.
While the fifth-seeded Fernanda and Barbara were defeating ninth-seeded Sara Hughes/Summer Ross of the United States 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-11) in 54 minutes on the Huntington Beach Open stadium court just north of the Pier, Antonelli and Carolina were upsetting second-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) in 38 minutes to net the first two final four berths at the FIVB World Tour event.
The Huntington Beach Open is the first double-elimination event on the FIVB World Tour since the 2012 season and both the Americans and the Canadians had a second chance at earning a spot in the semifinals. However, Hughes and Ross failed in their bid after losing to Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany in the contenders' bracket finals before Humana-Paredes and Pavan won an all-Canadian match to advance to Sunday morning’s semifinals.
Sunday’s semifinals will feature Fernanda/Barbara against Humana-Paredes/Pavan while Antonelli/Carolina challenge Laboureur/Sude for the second time in three days. The Canadians have a 2-0 international beach volleyball mark against Fernanda/Barbara, including an elimination win at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna.
With both Brazilian pairs sporting 4-0 Huntington Beach Open match marks, the third-seeded Laboureur and Sude won three contenders' bracket matches on Saturday to earn a final 4 berth as the Germans posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) victory in 37 minutes over Hughes and Ross. The Germans will be competing in their 10th FIVB semifinal in 52 World Tour appearances.
In dropping into the contenders' bracket after losing in two sets to Antonelli and Carolina on Friday afternoon, Laboureur and Sude started on Saturday with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-13) victory over 25th-seeded Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman of the United States followed by a 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) win in 36 minutes to German rivals Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan rebounded their morning setback to Antonelli and Carolina to score a 2-0 (25-23, 21-15) win over 13th-seeded compatriots Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson to gain their ninth World Tour semifinal berth in 12 FIVB events together since September 2016.
The all-Canadian match featured former partners as Bansley and Pavan placed fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The quarterfinal match was the fifth time the two players have opposed each other on the FIVB World Tour with Pavan/Humana-Paredes winning the last four matches after Bansley/Wilkerson won the first meeting at the 2016 FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada.