Xiamen, China, April 22, 2018 - Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes sweep gold at the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Xiamen Open defeating USA’s Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes, 2-0 (21-19, 21-14). Quick links - FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour:
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Pavan/Humana-Paredes enter Xiamen straight off the back of gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and have been on the World Tour podium multiple times in 2017. Claes/Hochevar are playing in their first tournament together and enter the final after battling all the way from the qualification tournament in Xiamen.
In the gold medal match it was USA took the lead in the first, but the Pavan/Humana-Paredes who have been so consistent in Xiamen, were never far behind. Extreme blocking from 196cm tall Pavan at net and the sheer Canadian focus gave Claes/Hochevar a hard time and the gold was theirs.
“This is what we trained for, our goal for the season was to win more golds and this is one to add to our collection and we’re so happy,” said Pavan.
“This means a lot, especially coming from the Commonwealth and winning the gold there, it means a lot for us to prove that we can do it and it wasn’t just a fluke. To have back to back gold medals and to be able to play at this level consistently and come out on top, it’s huge for us and that’s what we’re here to prove that we’re here to win,” said Pavan/Humana-Paredes.
“We had a lot of battles to get us here and after the Commonwealth Games and all the hype, it’s nice to just settle down and compete hard,” said Pavan. Brittany Hochevar (left) from the USA and Sarah Pavan from Canada during Xiamen gold medal match
“The US team have had a great tournament, they’re a new team, they’ve come on really strong. We were expecting a really tough battle and they’re got a lot of weapons. There was a little back and forth there at the beginning on both sides, but luckily we were able to take a bit of a lead there,” said Pavan.
“I’ve had such a great time, I’ve learnt so much from Sarah, I’m impressed on how we fight together and we never give up and know she’s always got my back and supports me 100% and we’re learning so much able each other. We’ve been together for two years now and it’s still amazing,” said Pavan/Humana-Paredes.
In the semifinal Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes beat Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Agatha Bednarczuk from Brazil. The two teams had played three times in the past, with Agatha/Duda winning twice, but this day it was Pavan/Humana-Parades that remained unstoppable winning, 2-0 (21-19, 21-14).
The silver is an impressive result for new pairing Claes/Hochevar who will be a team to watch in the coming season.
The bronze medal match saw Australia’s Mariafe Del Solar Artacho and Taliqua Clancy up against Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Agatha Bednarczuk from Brazil.
Artacho Del Solar/Clancy enter Xiamen off the back of silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and won the Sydney two-star and Qinzhou three-star at the end of 2017 while Agatha/Duda are currently ranked number six in the world and no strangers to the podium, winning silver at the Hamburg World Tour Finals in 2017. Mariafe Artacho Del Solar (left) and Talique Clancy from Australia during Xiamen bronze medal match
Clancy’s powerful armed helped get the Australians ahead in the first set, but the Brazilians started to creep up as they started to read the game. But Artacho Del Solar/Clancy continued their solid play to close out the first set in their favour.
Two ace serves from Agatha edged Brazil ahead in the second set, 9-7, but Artacho Del Solar/Clancy didn’t give up the lead for long and earned their first bronze at a FIVB World Tour four-star, 2-0 (21-18, 21-17).
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the semifinal, but that’s the beauty of our sport, we get to turn around and jack it up and we came out and put a great performance on,” said Clancy.
“I’m stoked, you know it’s only our eight event together so get a podium finish for our country is so exciting for what’s to come,” said Artacho Del Solar.
“We definitely knew we had to come out and bring our best. Agatha and Duda are one of the top five teams in the world, so we’re definitely excited to give them a run for their money. We know they’re very physical and they have great ball control so we had to bring our best,” said Clancy.Agatha (right) from Brazil and Taliqua Clancy from Australia
“We’ve had such a natural connection from the start and we have so much trust and believe in each other and ourselves and that just makes it so much smoother and easier to get out there and play the game,” said Artacho Del Solar.
“This bronze is just the beginning, that’s what it feels like, it’s awesome what we have got out of the team in such a short period of time and this year we want to develop and grow our game and to get some success along the way is awesome,” said Clancy.