Top-seeded Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes and second-seeded Alix Klineman and April Ross of USA will play each other in Friday's women's final of the 4-star Katara Beach Volleyball Cup in Doha. The two teams successfully pushed through Thursday's quarterfinals and semifinals to cross swords for gold.
In the first semifinal of the day, Alix and April dominated fellow Americans Emily Stockman and Kelley Kolinske. After a relatively one-sided first set, the second was more competitive until 7-7. At that moment, Alix and April went on a a seven-point run on April's serve and practically pre-decided the outcome of the match. Stockman and Kolinske tried fighting back towards the end, but Alix and April held up to cruise on to a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) win and advance to the final.
“We are so excited to come to the first event in such a long time. We’ve worked so hard and trained so hard and to be in the finals means so much to us. It means our hard work is working. All the American teams are so good and they’ve been working so hard as well, and I feel like we are all pushing each other. It was a pretty tough match and we are happy with our performance. We’ll have a big match-up in the finals and we are looking forward to that,” April said after the game.
“There is still a lot of room for improvement, but we are super excited to be in the final,” Alix added.
Earlier in the day, Alix and April delivered a 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) shutout of another strong team, fifth-seeded Brazilians Ana Patricia and Rebecca, in the quarterfinals.
In the second semifinal, Pavan and Melissa persevered through two nerve-wracking extended sets to celebrate a 2-0 (24-22, 26-24) victory over third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) of Brazil. A very hard-fought first set was pushed deep into overtime. The Canadians denied two opponent set points before taking a one-set lead. In set two, the lead went back and fourth and in the money time it was again Pavan and Melissa who held up better. They saved as many as five set points for Brazil before converting their first match point to victory.
“We expected a battle. It was a battle. We had some up and down moments. We were down in both sets, but we persisted, we kept fighting and it paid off. I am really proud of how we fought through the whole day today,” Pavan said.
Pavan and Melissa had to go through another very tough encounter in Thursday morning’s quarterfinals. They went to three sets against Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina and came out of it with a 2-1 (22-20, 24-26, 15-9) win.
“We’re quite familiar with the team of Alix and April and it’s always a battle against them. We know each other really well, so it’s bound to be a good game. As always, as long as we focus on our side, it should be a good match and we should persevere,” said Humana-Paredes.
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