Canada and Brazil to play for women’s gold in Cancún

CANCÚN, México, April 20, 2021 - Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima will play for the gold medal of the first 4-star FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Cancun on Tuesday.


Both teams extended their undefeated runs at the Playa Delfines to five matches on Monday, when they won a pair of games in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the tournament to advance to the final match of the event.


The reigning world champions, Pavan and Humana-Paredes qualified for their second final in as many World Tour events in 2021 as they won the silver medal at the 4-star Katara Cup, in Doha, Qatar, in March. The two athletes will be playing in their 12th World Tour final together and will try to secure their seventh gold as a team.


In the semifinals, the 34-year-old Pavan and the 28-year-old Humana-Paredes faced Germans Chantal Laboureur and Cinja Tillmann, who they had defeated in pool play on Saturday, and posted a 2-0 (21-16, 21-14) victory to move forward.


“Having a couple of days under our belts to play in these elements, we really narrowed down our game”, said Humana-Paredes, who was the Best Setter of the World Tour in 2019. ”I think our serving has gotten them in trouble and Sarah’s blocking was phenomenal. They’re a really strong ball-control team and we knew we had to put pressure on them from the baseline, which we did. It’s really good for our confidence that we’re in the final again. We still have a lot of things that we want to improve on and it’s very promising that we’re getting to finals and there’s still another level that we can bring.”


The 38-year-old Talita and the 36-year-old Taiana got to the final with a similar campaign of five wins. The Brazilians prevailed in a familiar meeting with compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa in the semifinals, securing a 2-1 (21-14, 10-21, 15-13) triumph to advance to the semifinals.


The pair, who are playing together in the Cancun Hub tournaments because Talita’s regular partner Maria Elisa Antonelli is in Brazil building up her fitness after giving birth to her first son last year, have won five of the eight finals they have played together over two stints as partners, between 2013-2014 and in 2019.


"I think in the first two sets it came down to which team served better and the third was actually closer to what a match between these two teams should be," Talita, a three-time Olympian, explained. "When Maria decided she wouldn't come, Tatiana was the only option that I had in mind. We have great chemistry, played together not long ago and we trusted we could do well. The last time I played the Canadians was in 2017 and they improved so much since then. It will be a difficult match but as long as we keep playing with the same energy and the same union, I think we have what it takes to win."


The gold medal match of the tournament in Cancun will mark the first meeting between the teams on the World Tour.