Canadian pairs eradicated in quarter-finals of Gstaad Elite 16

Canada’s Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson fell to Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar 2-1 (21-17, 21-15, 15-12) in Gstaad, Switzerland, on Saturday, eliminating them from medal contention at the Swiss stop on FIVB Beach Volleyball Pro Tour Elite 16.

The natives of Toronto, Ont. entered the tournament ranked 22nd in the world and have had a stellar season since finishing second at the world championships in Rome, Italy, last month. Wilkerson, 29, and Bukovec, 26, only teamed up before this season.

The Canadians exchanged points with the Australians early in the first set before running away late in the set to earn a 21-17 victory to open the day. However, the Australians stormed back quickly in the second set, pushing to a quick 14-7 lead and 21-15 win, forcing a decisive third set.

With a passionate Swiss crowd fully invested in the match as temperatures hit 27 degrees Celsius the Ontario-based pair appeared to have rebounded in the final set, exchanging points to 10-10 before falling to the Australians 15-12, and dropping the match.

“I’m so excited; I’ve always dreamed of playing on Sunday here in Gsdaat,” Clancy said. “This stadium, the energy here is amazing, and it is just so much fun.”

With the loss, the Canadians won’t advance, while their Australian foes move on to the semifinals.

Pavan, Humana-Paredes fall to Brazilian world champions in straight sets

It wasn’t the end that Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes were hoping for in Gstaad, as they fell 2-0 (21-11, 21-13) in the quarter-final, reigning world champions in Brazil’s Duda and Ana Patricia .

The 2019 world champions, the Canadians, fell in straight sets after the Brazilians got out to a quick and decisive early lead in the first set, winning 21-11, allowing Pavan and Humana-Paredes few opportunities to strike back.

Looking to regain a bit of their magic from 2019, Pavan, the 25-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., and Humana-Paredes, the 29-year-old from Toronto, battled through tight points before dropping the second set, eliminating themselves from title contention.

It was a disappointing finish to the tournament for the pair, ranked 11th in the world, after winning the bronze medal at the Swiss stop in 2021. However, they matched their national teammates in being eliminated at the quarter-final stage.

With the Canadian pairs no longer in contention, the Gstaad women’s title will go to one of Latvia, Australia, or Brazil, with one semi-final featuring Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka against Duda and Ana Patricia, while the other pits Brazil’s Carolina Solberg Salgado and Barbara Seixas de Freitas against Clancey and Del Solar.

The semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Pro Tour Elite 16 in Gstaad highlight Day 5 action on cbcsports.ca and CBC Gem, beginning on Sunday at 4:00 am ET.

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