Huntington Beach, USA, May 6, 2018 - Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain rebounded from semifinal setbacks in the morning to win the afternoon women's and men's bronze medals, respectively, here Sunday at the $300,000 Huntington Beach Open.
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With the women's and men's gold medals still to be played to end the six days of FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour competition on the courts north of the Pier in "Surf City USA", the third-seeded Laboureur and Sude posted a 2-0 (35-33, 21-16) win in 53 minutes over second-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada to claim the $10,000 prize for finishing third in the FIVB World Tour event.
The German win was their second in three World Tour meetings with Humana-Paredes and Pavan, who eliminated Laboureur and Sude at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships last August in Vienna.
In the men's bronze medal finale, the 12th-seeded Gavira and Herrera netted the third-place prize of $10,000 with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) victory in 42 minutes over ninth-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia. With the win, the Spaniards snapped a three-game losing streak to Samoilovs and Smedins, who still hold a 6-4 edge in the FIVB series with Gavira and Herrera.
Pablo Herrera (left) of Spain hits against Latvian Aleksandrs Samoilovs in the men's bronze medal match at the Huntington Beach Open.
Here are post-match bronze medal quotes:
Julia Sude, Germany: "We had to be very focused and patient because we knew we had the right strategy. They played an awesome side out, so it was very close, but we still had to push, and we had to put them under pressure and at the end it worked out because Chantal hit an ace. We like it here, we like the atmosphere. The people are crazy about beach volleyball, they know our names even though we are covered in clothes. In Germany I think this just happens in our hometown so it’s so much fun to be an athlete here."
Chantal Laboureur, Germany: "First of all we take the bronze medal back to Germany! We had some problems at the beginning of the tournament, but we improved game by game. It was so much fun to play here, and the conditions were good now, not so warm, a little bit windy. We were happy to play here. We saw it was exhausting for every player and we tried to keep the energy high and we tried to use this as an advantage. We always push each other. The first set took a lot of capacity, so the one who had the last energy had the advantage at the end."
Sarah Pavan - "It’s great, we always want to make it to Sunday and worry about winning gold from there. But fourth, honestly, is the worst. Knowing us we’ll still think about all the things we did wrong. I remember every single play from the game and I don’t really think about the good ones, I think about the bad ones, like what a dumb play that one was or what was I doing on that one? We’ll be doing a lot of that tonight. (On playing a 35-33 first set) We made it to 34-32 in Porec (Croatia, 2017), that’s the closest. Then we won 21-12 so I was ready, I was like we’re going to crush this one. Didn’t happen."
Melissa Humana-Paredes, Canada - "It’s not great. Gosh, it really takes a lot out of you. But reaching another semifinal proves our consistency and we’re checking that box, which is great. But it’s time to check some other boxes more consistently. What I think is great about that is we’re not even there yet. We still have tons of time to perfect and get to where we want to be before we want to start peaking. To be able to still reach all these semifinals without being where we can potentially be in six months, a year, two years, is exciting."
Pablo Herrera, Spain - "For us it’s important to show because now we have more confidence for the season. We are playing well. We have played four tournaments with four top-10 results so that’s important."
Adrian Gavira, Spain - "It’s amazing here. I have no words for playing here, the people are amazing. A medal here in the USA for us, we’re very happy. We have played four tournaments; the season finishes in October so it’s a long season and we’ll see but now we are more confident."
Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Latvia - "Spain’s guys played really good today with a lot of energy and everything went good for them and we couldn’t stop them. We needed just a few blocks and defense to change the game and the biggest mistake was we were leading 20-18 and we lost the first set. Then it just felt like they were unstoppable. It’s a nice tournament, a nice atmosphere here and I haven’t experienced losing a game on this type of day on centre court so it’s something new for us. All week long the atmosphere was amazing, people coming and cheering. I like this tournament and it’s too bad we finished fourth, it’s the worst place you can be because you’re in the semifinals and when you finish the tournament you still lose. I was injured in China. Even last week we weren’t sure if we were going to participate in this tournament. And then we get to the semifinal, so from the other perspective we should be satisfied with this result. Maybe we will be satisfied tomorrow, but today it’s two losses."