Canada will play for bronze after German Olympic and world champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst posted a two-set (21-15, 21-14) win over Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, ON) and Sarah Pavan (Kitchener, ON) at the Beach World Tour Hamburg Finals today.
It was the second FIVB World Tour match between the two teams with the Canadians defeating Ludwig and Walkenhorst in the Rio Open quarter-finals in mid-May.
“They played unbelievably well, they kept the pressure on us all game,” said Pavan. “I wish we had played the way we can. We had a lot of opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on. Our side out was very shaky. We have to get ready for the bronze medal match tomorrow. Neither of us can dwell on this game.”
Earlier today, the third-seeded Canadians had a decisive 2-0 (21-10, 21-12) win in 29 minutes over 12th-seeded Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes will play Brazil’s Talita and Larissa, who lost their semi to fellow Brazilians Agatha and Duda.
Also earlier today, Brazil’s Talita and Larissa posted a 2-0 (27-25, 21-16) win in 39 minutes over the 11th-seeded Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson of Canada. The Canadian pair finish ninth at this World Tour finals – the same placing as last year’s event in Toronto.
In an upset today, Canadians Ben Saxton (Calgary) and Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, AB) bounced back after losing their two pool matches to eliminate Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin from the competition.
Seeded 12th in the competition as a “wild card” entrant, Saxton and Schalk posted a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) win in 31 minutes over the seventh-seeded Krasilnikov and Liamin, 2017 World Championship bronze medalists.
“It was really smooth,” said Schalk. “We are just getting better every game. We find our side out rhythm and we were tough to stop. If we play like that we know we can do a lot of things. Ben was blocking a lot of balls and putting them in trouble. He played great.”
2016 Olympians Saxton and Schalk will play top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States Saturday with the winners of that match advancing to Sunday’s “final four” matches at Rothenbaum Stadium.
Photo and reports: FIVB/Swatch Major Series