Defending women’s champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes weren’t as sharp two days after their beach volleyball world opener but still managed to eke out a 22-20, 21-19 decision for their second straight win in sun-soaked Rome.
The Canadian duo struggled to put away Lézana Placette and Alexia Richard of France, particularly in the second set when they blew several leads and served poorly at times, which plagued them a week ago at the Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Latvia.
But the 2020 Olympians, with the temperature hovering around 33 C, remained calm and will face Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Sarah Schulz (1-1) in their final Pool J match on Monday at 10 a.m. ET that can be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes secured their second win in Rome with a pair of shots down the middle inside the back line after a Placette kill tied the second set 19-19.
MATCH POINT 🏐<a href=”https://twitter.com/melissa_hp10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@melissa_hp10</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/SarahPavan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@SarahPavan</a> remain undefeated at beach volleyball worlds <a href=”https://t.co/tKsJcSudp3″>pic.twitter.com/tKsJcSudp3</a>
After building a 7-3 advantage, the Canadians couldn’t keep momentum and watched as Placette and Richard pulled even and took their first lead of the day 11-10 when Pavan directed the ball into the net to end a long rally.
The lead was short-lived as Canada went ahead 14-12 on an impressive dig by Humana-Paredes, who watched the ball travel over the next, across the court and land inches inside the line.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes stayed in front until France erased a 17-14 deficit when Humana-Paredes’ shot went deep out of bounds. The teams exchanged points until they had 19 apiece.
Canada never trailed in the first set but Placette and Richard stayed close until Humana-Paredes and Pavan kills made it 12-7. The Canadians extended the margin to 18-11 but France, again, fought back to square the set 19-19.
WATCH | Pavan and Humana-Paredes vs. France:
Canada scored the next two points when a Placette shot went out of bounds and Pavan’s tip shot found an uncovered place on the sand.
Elsewhere, Toronto’s Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson made it six consecutive set wins in Rome en route to their third straight win — 21-19, 21-19 over Americans Betsi Flint and Kelly Cheng. They won Pool E while fellow Canadians Megan and Nicole McNamara also went 3-0 to capture Pool D over Bárbara Seixas and Carolina Solberg Salgado, downing the Brazilians 21-16, 19-21, 15-13.
On the men’s side, Toronto tandem Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing will try for their first win against two losses on Monday at 6 a.m. ET against Ghana’s Paul Akan and Samuel Essilfie.
A total of 48 men’s and 48 women’s pairs representing all five continental confederations will play a total of 216 matches, with the gold-medal final scheduled for June 19.