Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2017 - The women’s field at the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 has been narrowed to 16 teams as two medal winners from the 2015 edition of the event were eliminated here Wednesday by Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan.
Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Alves finished 1 and 2 in the 2015 FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands with Agatha Bednarczuk and Taiana Lima, respectively, but the new Brazilian team will not have the opportunity to repeat after losing 2-0 (21-16, 21-10) in 35 minutes to the seventh-seeded Humana-Paredes and Pavan.
The Canada/Brazil confrontation was one of the 16 first-round elimination matches played Wednesday as Humana-Paredes are currently the No. 2-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour behind Brazilians Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca.
Barbara, who captured the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Agatha, and Fernanda are ranked No. 5. By winning only once in four matches this week, the eighth-seeded Barbara and Fernanda place 17th this week in their first World Championship appearance together.
Pavan said after the match that "it was definitely a tough draw. We played them in the Porec semifinal. They are an awesome team. We put pressure on them with our serving and played very consistently, which is important against a team like that.”
Humana-Paredes added "we played really well, and each match we are getting better and better. They are a phenomenal team. It felt like a semifinal match…We drank a lot of water last night and all morning. We have been going to the bathroom all day.”
Barbara said it was a "tough matchup because they are a great team. I am disappointed of course because we prepared hard and couldn’t do better. We are a new team and we are focusing on difficult moments because that is how you learn. We have a long way to go.”
Fernanda added: "we have a lot to learn about each other to grow as a team. Canada’s defensive system worked well. They are hard to play against.”
With their fourth-straight win in the 2017 world championships, Humana-Paredes and Pavan will be challenged by 10th-seeded Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli of Switzerland. It will be the Canadians second FIVB World Tour match against the young Swiss pair as Humana-Paredes and Pavan posted a 2-0 (21-8, 21-12) pool play win over Betschart and Hüberli June 1 in Moscow.
Betschart and Hüberli advanced to the second round of elimination by defeating 12th-seeded Katharina Schutzenhofer and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria 2-0 (21-14, 21-17) in 37 minutes.
In one of the two final women’s matches Wednesday, the third-seeded Agatha and her “new” partner Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa were also eliminated from the competition after dropping a 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 16-14) decision in 50 minutes to sixth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic. Like Barbara and Fernanda, Agatha and Duda also finished 17th in the 2017 FIVB World Championships.
The US$1-million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 will feature 24 elimination matches (16 men and eight women) Thursday at the state-of-the art venue at Donauinsel with the focal point of the action and entertainment being held with a picturesque view of the Danube River and the lively atmosphere of the Beach Village.
A total of 216-matches will be contested over a 10-day period at the world championships where the winning men’s and women’s teams will each split the $60,000 first-place prizes. The women’s medal matches will be played Saturday and the men’s Sunday. With 96 teams from 40 countries in the competition, pool play highlights the first six days of play with the featured court being the 10,000-seat Red Bull Beach Arena.