Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ontario and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto, Ontario have won their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event of 2018. On Sunday, Pavan and Humana-Paredes beat Kelly Claes and Brittany Hochevar of the United States 21-19, 21-14 in the gold medal game of the Xiamen Open in China.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes won both of their Pool A matches. They beat a host Chinese team Shuting Cao and Jingjing Zeng 21-18, 21-8 and then beat Nicole Branagh and the legendary Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States 21-15, 22-24, 18-26 in three grueling sets.
Then in the round of 16, Pavan and Humana-Paredes beat Germany’s Isabel Schneider and Victoria Bieneck 21-13, 21-18. Their round of 16 win set up a quarterfinal matchup with Americans Summer Ross and Sara Hughes. Just like their pool A match, Pavan and Humana-Paredes went three full sets before becoming victorious 20-22, 21-19, 16-14. In the semi-finals, Pavan and Humana-Paredes beat the Brazilian duo of Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa of Brazil 21-19, 21-14. Bednarczuk won the silver medal in women’s beach volleyball at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with Barbara Seixas.
Even though this is the first win on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2018, this is not the first major win in 2018 for the Canadians. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia earlier this month, Pavan and Humana-Paredes won the gold medal as they beat Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy of Australia 21-19, 22-20 in the gold medal game.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes are also currently ranked first in the world in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour women’s rankings. They have 5,820 points, which is 1448 more points than Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes of Brazil, who are in second place with 4372 points. Pavan and Humana-Paredes have set themselves up as serious Olympic medal contenders for Canada at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.