Itapema, Brazil, May 18, 2019 – Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes and USA’s April Ross/Alix Klineman will meet for the second time in as many weeks as the tandems have advanced to the gold medal match of the Itapema Open, the Brazilian four-star event of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
Canadians and Americans faced each other in the final match of the USA’s domestic tour, the AVP, just two weeks ago in Huntington Beach. The duel in California, which was won by Ross and Klineman, was one of the four meetings between the teams so far with each of them prevailing twice.
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The final game of the women’s tournament at the Meia Praia will be played on Sunday morning, just a few hours after the bronze medal match, which will feature Canada’s Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson and the Netherlands’ Marleen van Iersel/Joy Stubbe.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes turn things around twice
Pavan and Humana-Paredes had a Saturday with plenty of turnarounds in Itapema as the Canadians lost the first set in both of their matches at the Meia Praia and were in the verge of being eliminated from the tournament twice. In their quarterfinal game, they came from behind to defeat USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings and Brooke Sweat 15-21, 21-12, 15-10.
In the semifinal, the finalists started trailing again, but managed to bounce back in great style, prevailing over Brandie and Bansley 10-21, 21-16, 15-5. It was the fifth victory of Sarah and Humana-Paredes over their compatriots in seven international meetings so far.
“We started out really bad, but I’m really proud about how we forgot the first set after it happened,” Pavan commented. “We made some adjustments and then we dominated the next two. We stayed very calm and very steady and Humana-Paredes was digging everything, she was very steady the whole game. There’s always some tension there, but I’m very proud that we managed to win today.”
The Canadians will be playing in their seventh World Tour gold medal match, having won three of the first six – Porec in 2017 and Gstaad and Xiamen in 2018.
Ross and Klineman get payback
Klineman and Ross will play for their third World Tour gold medal in Itapema
Ross’ and Klineman’s qualification also had a special taste for the Americans as they posted a 21-18, 21-17 semifinal win over Van Iersel and Stubbe just two days after the Dutch had defeated them in pool play in Itapema.
“They were playing really well and they beat us in pool play,” Ross mentioned. “I think we steadied a lot after that and changed a lot how we played. It was a little bit up and down, but I think in the end we did what we needed to do, so that’s gratifying and we’re so excited to win because that was a very good team.”
Earlier in the day, in the quarterfinals, the Americans survived in a tough three-set (25-27, 21-18, 15-13) battle with Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda Lisboa to remain alive in the tournament.
On Sunday Ross and Klineman will play their third World Tour gold medal match since they joined forces, at the start of 2018. They won events in the Hague and Xiamen, both in 2018.