American, Brazilian and Canadian women’s teams are the first pairs to advance to the quarterfinals of this week’s FIVB World Tour event after posting two victories each Friday at the US$300,000 Huntington Beach Open.
Americans Sara Hughes/Summer Ross paced the host country effort Friday and are joined in the quarterfinals of the winner’s bracket by Brazilians Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas and Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado, and Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan.
With the Huntington Beach Open featuring “double-elimination” play, the ninth-seeded Hughes/Ross will play fifth-seeded Fernanda/Barbara while sixth-seeded Antonelli/Carolina will challenge second-seeded Humana-Paredes/Pavan in matches to be played Saturday morning on the courts just north of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Hughes and Ross posted a pair of wins Friday over American rivals starting with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-18) win in 34 minutes over 25th-seeded Kelley Larsen/Emily Stockman followed by a 2-0 (21-13, 22-20) victory in 33 minutes over top-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat.
Fernanda and Barbara, who are seeking their second gold medal on American sand this season after topping the podium at February’s Fort Lauderdale Major in south Florida, posted wins over 12th-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider of Germany 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) in 40 minutes and 13th-seeded Heather Bansley/Brandie Wilkerson of Canada 2-0 (21-19, 29-27) in 52 minutes.
Antonelli and Carolina opened play Friday with a 2-1 (21-17, 16-21, 15-13) win in 50 minutes over 11th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland before upsetting third-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in 39 minutes.
Humana-Paredes and Pavan, FIVB World Tour gold medal winners in China last month scored a 2-0 (22-20, 28-26) victory in 46 minutes over 18th-seeded Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia to start play Friday and ended the day with a 2-1 (27-29, 21-19, 15-12) centre court win in 62 minutes over seventh-seeded Alexandra Klineman/April Ross of the United States.
A total of 12 women’s team remain in the Huntington Beach Open competition as the inaugural event continues through the weekend where the semi-finals and medal matches will be played Sunday with the winning teams netting the $20,000 first-place prizes. The second of two FIVB World Tour events in the United States this season, the Huntington Beach Open is a partnership between the FIVB and the United States’ premier Beach Volleyball tour – the AVP.