• March 20, 2023

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Pavan, Humana-Paredes end 2-plus year beach volleyball tour title drought

Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes gained a measure of revenge on Sunday and their first beach volleyball tour victory since the 2019 Vienna Major.

The Canadian duo outlasted Bárbara Seixas and Carolina Solberg Salgado in the women’s final, prevailing 21-19, 20-22, 15-7 at the Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Latvia. All five of their victories in Jurmala were against a Brazilian opponent.

“They’re a great team and we knew we would have to play really, really well to beat them and to match them,” Pavan, who hails from Kitchener, Ont., said after the match. “We’re just really proud and excited to be able to win this tournament.”

Last June 6, Pavan and Humana-Paredes were swept 21-15, 21-16 in 37 minutes by Bárbara and Carol in the bronze-medal match at the Ostrava Beach Open in the Czech Republic.

A month later, 2-0 the Canadians swept the Brazilian tandem in the quarter-finals at the FIVB World Tour event in Gstaad, Switzerland, on the way to a third-place finish ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo, where they placed fifth.

Sunday’s final was the fourth time in six matches this week the Brazilians played the full three sets, so perhaps fatigue was a factor, particularly in the tiebreaker set. But twice this season Bárbara and Carol have won gold, in mid-March at the Tlaxcala Challenge in Mexico and three events later in Doha, Qatar.

For Pavan and Humana-Paredes, it was the third time reaching the final in their past five tournaments after silver-medal performances at the AVP Austin Open in Texas in May and last October at the World Tour Finals in Italy.

On May 27, the seventh-seeded Canadians were eliminated in Ostrava after posting a 1-2 record in pool play.

They will try to defend their 2019 world title this coming week in Italy.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes advanced to Sunday’s final after rallying for a 18-21, 21-19, 15-10 semifinal triumph over Brazil’s Eduarda (Duda) Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Pavan and Humana-Paredes defeated Brazil’s Talita Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti 21-17, 21-18 in the quarter-finals. Lisboa and Ramos beat Americans Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske (21-19, 21-17) in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.

Steve Carr

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