05.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
Switzerland is guaranteed its best-ever finish at the Beach Volleyball World Championships and Canada is on the verge of doing the same as the teams of Nina Betschart/Tanja Hünerli and Sarah Pavan/Melissa Humana-Paredes won their quarter-final matches and will return to the Red Bull Beach Arena later on Friday to play each other for a place in the gold medal match.
Nina and Tanja are already making history for their country as they are the first Swiss team to ever reach the semi-finals of the World Championships. They did so in Hamburg by coming from behind to secure a 19-21, 21-13, 15-13 win over Barbara Seixas and Fernanda Berti, who were the last Brazilian team standing and will see their country miss the semi-finals for the first time.
The Swiss are actually specializing on coming up big in important tournaments as they took the silver medal of last year’s European Championships.
“It’s nice to have this record in our country, but even nicer to see that we can play against the rest of the world and take Switzerland to the semi-finals of such an important tournament,” Tanja said. “I don’t know what’s up with us and these big tournaments, but we knew when we got here that we are a team that can bring its best performances when it really counts and that certainly boosted our self-confidence.”
The Swiss will also have an opportunity to get some revenge from the Canadians, who sent them home in ninth-place in Vienna two years ago. To do that, though, they will need to defy the odds and beat Sarah and Melissa for the first after three losses in which they weren’t able to take sets from their rivals.
“They are a really strong team,” Nina added. “It will be a very, very tough match for us but all we want is to continue in the same flow and see what we can do.”
The Canadians secured their semi-final berth with arguably their best performance so far in Hamburg, which had them completely dominating Italians Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth to a secure 21-12, 21-12 victory in a rainy Red Bull Beach Arena.
“We played some really good volleyball and I’m proud of the way we did, supporting each other and never letting it up no matter what the score was,” Melissa reflected. “We’re aiming to be one percent better every match and I think we’ve done it throughout this tournament and we’ve seen that evolution of us. It was clean, it was efficient, but we can still work on things and hopefully next match will be even better.”
With the victory, Sarah and Melissa got one step closer to improving on their fourth-place finish in Vienna 2017, which is the best-ever for their country, but also a bittersweet for them as they left the Danube Island empty-handed.
“When we got here and the tournament started we were talking to each other that we have an opportunity to be world champions and it got us goosebumps and butterflies in the stomach,” Sarah explained. “The last Worlds Championship was a good finish for us, but obviously a little bit disappointing too and we have a chance to do better now.”