Melissa Humana-Paredes celebrates a point during the quarterfinals at the Gstaad Major on Saturday
Gstaad, Switzerland, July 14, 2018 - The Canadian women’s pairs of Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson are on track to meet in an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medal match after each team posted quarterfinal wins here Saturday over teams from the United States and the Czech Republic.
However, the beach volleyball teams of third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa from Brazil and seventh-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude Germany can halt the Canadians’ first-ever access to the top two places on the podium at the $600,000 Gstaad Major.
After eliminating teams from the Czech Republic, Japan and the United States, Saturday’s quarterfinal winners advanced to Sunday’s final four where Humana-Paredes/Pavan will challenge Agatha/Duda and Bansley/Wilkerson meet Laboureur/Sude.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan tied the series with the Brazilians at 2-2 by defeating Agatha and Duda in the semifinals in the mid-April FIVB at Xiamen, China. The Canadians’ first win over the Brazilians was a year ago in Gstaad in a quarterfinal match.
The Bansley/Wilkerson’s series with the Germans is also tied 2-2 as the Canadians defeated Laboureur/Sude two weeks ago in Poland in the gold medal match at Warsaw. The two also met once in Gstaad with the Germans eliminating Bansley/Wilkerson in the second round of elimination.
The second-seeded Bansley and Wilkerson were the second Canadian team to reach the Gstaad Major final four on Saturday with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) quarterfinal win in 39 minutes over fifth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic.
Kicking up the sand in Gstaad on Saturday was Heather Bansley
Bansley and Wilkerson, who advanced to their fourth World Tour semifinal in 17 FIVB events, have now won five of six matches with the Czech women. Hermannova and Slukova’s win in the gold medal match on their home sand in Ostrava was three weeks ago.
The defending Gstaad Major champions, Laboureur and Sude advanced to their 12th FIVB final four in 56 World Tour starts by defeating 30th-seeded qualifiers Miki Ishii/Megumi Murakami of Japan 2-0 (28-26, 21-11) in the final women’s match Saturday in 43 minutes. It was the Germans’ second win over Ishii and Murakami in as many meetings.
Two-time winners on the FIVB circuit, Humana-Paredes and Pavan advanced to their second-straight semifinal in the Alps village and 10th overall by defeating ninth-seeded Alix Klineman/April Ross of the United States 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) in 36 minutes. It was the Canadians second win in as many FIVB meetings with Klineman and Ross.
Agatha and Duda advanced to their 10th FIVB semifinal in 17 World Tour events by defeating 26th-seeded qualifiers Kelley Larsen and Emily Stockman of the United States 2-1 (20-22, 21-15, 15-7) in Saturday’s first quarterfinal match in 46 minutes. The Brazilians now lead the series with the Americans 3-1.
The Olympic silver medal winner at the Rio 2016 Summer Games with Barbara Seixas, Agatha advances to her first semifinal in her eighth Swiss Alps village appearance. Agatha and Duda will be seeking their third gold medal and second this season after topping the podium in mid-May on home sand in Itapema.