Pavan, Humana-Paredes battle to bronze at Swiss beach volleyball event
Reigning world champions had consecutive sets streak of 8 snapped in semis
Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes will leave their final event before the Tokyo Games with hard-fought bronze medals on the Beach Volleyball World Tour.
The reigning world champions defeated Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia 21-13, 13-21, 17-15 in the third-place match on Sunday in Gstaad, Switzerland. Pavan and Humana-Paredes won the event in 2018.
The teams traded lopsided set victories, with the Canadians taking the opener before the Latvians rallied in the second to force a third and deciding set.
Canada and Latvia traded the lead in that final set, before Pavan converted their third match point off a huge block.
WATCH | Humana-Paredes, Pavan finish strong in Gstaad:
"The Latvian team is a really, really strong team [and] they had a great season," Pavan said after the match. "We knew that they would score points but we knew we just needed to be patient, keep fighting, and take advantage of the opportunities when we got them."
Earlier in the day, Pavan and Humana-Paredes had their eight-set win streak snapped in the semifinals by Brazilian duo Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos "Duda" Lisboa.
The Brazilians took a 21-13, 21-18 straight-sets victory for a spot in the gold-medal match, which they won against compatriots Ana Patricia Sila Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva, 23-21, 21-18.
Humana-Paredes said the results in Gstaad will help them when they arrive in Tokyo at the Olympic Games, which officially open July 23.
"This journey is not perfect, and what I think is really important is that we grind together and we fight through those difficult moments, she said. "Perfection is impossible and if we can stay together and fight for every single point, we will be successful."
WATCH | Canadians' streak snapped by Brazil in semis:
Pavan and Humana-Paredes opened the Swiss event on Wednesday with a two-set loss to Spanish qualifiers Daniela Alvarez and Angela Lobato. They overcame a 21-13 first-set defeat at the hands of Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands on Thursday to prevail 2-1 and start a run of eight consecutive set victories that culminated in a 2-0 sweep of Carolina Salgado and Barbara Seixas in Saturday's quarter-finals.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes will be joined by Stam and Schoon in Pool A at the Olympics when play begins July 24 at Shiokaze Park in Tokyo. The Canadians won three meetings over a 35-day stretch but each has lasted three sets.
Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich, along with Germany's Karla Borger and Sude, are the other teams in Pool A.
In Sunday's all-Brazilian gold-medal match, Bednarczuk and Lisboa swept Ana Patricia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva 23-21, 21-18 in 38 minutes.
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