Pavan, Humana-Paredes drop gold-medal match to German beach volleyball duo

·3 min read
Canada's Sarah Pavan, right, and Melissa Humana-Paredes had to settle for a beach volleyball silver medal at the World Tour Finals after being swept 21-13, 23-21 by Germany's Julia Sude, left, and Karla Borger in Sunday's gold-medal game in Cagliari, Italy. (Submitted by FIVB - image credit)
Canada's Sarah Pavan, right, and Melissa Humana-Paredes had to settle for a beach volleyball silver medal at the World Tour Finals after being swept 21-13, 23-21 by Germany's Julia Sude, left, and Karla Borger in Sunday's gold-medal game in Cagliari, Italy. (Submitted by FIVB - image credit)

Melissa Humana-Paredes' 29th birthday didn't feature a beach volleyball World Tour Finals gold medal celebration in Italy.

The Toronto native and her partner Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., were swept 2-0 (21-13, 23-21) in 37 minutes by Karla Borger and Julia Sude in the championship match on Sunday in Cagliari.

It was the only loss of the tournament for the 5-1 Canadians, who were seeking their first tournament title victory since 2019. They will bring home $80,000 US in prize money for their efforts.

For Borger and Sude, Sunday's victory follows their recent title win at the European Championships in Vienna on the heels of three losses in as many games at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer.

WATCH | Canadians fall in gold-medal game against Germans:

It also represented their second consecutive win over Pavan and Humana-Paredes, the reigning world champions who hold a 5-2 advantage in seven career meetings. The Germans posted a two-set sweep on April 24 in Cancun a week after the Canadians prevailed 15-12 in a third and deciding set in the Mexican city.

A German tandem has now won four of the past six World Tour Finals.

It was a shaky start for Borger and Sude in Italy, where they overcame an opening loss to upset reigning Olympic champions April Ross and Alix Klineman of the United States before suffering a straight-sets defeat to Russia's Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina.

They beat Italian wild cards Marta Menegatti and Valentina Gottardi to finish pool play with a 2-2 record and advance on point ratio before knocking off Makroguzova and Kholomina in the semifinals.

Earlier Sunday, Ross and Klineman downed Makroguzova and Kholomina for bronze.

In six previous World Tour events this season, Borger and Sude's best result was fifth in one of the three Cancun competitions.

Germans make good on 3rd match point

They pulled off Sunday's victory with an exciting second set against a resilient Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who were eliminated in the Olympic quarter-finals in Tokyo.

On third match point, Pavan's kill attempt went wide after she served into the net to put Borger and Sude ahead 22-21.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes were fourth at 2017 World Tour Finals while the former also placed fourth in 2015 with former partner Heather Bansley.

Canada and Germany exchanged points throughout Sunday's final set, with Pavan and Humana-Paredes' 4-2 advantage the only lead of more than one point.

The start of the opening set was similar until Germany went on a four-point run for a 7-3 lead, highlighted by strong net play from Sude and a huge Borger kill that had Humana-Paredes leaning the opposite way.

Germany extended its advantage with well-placed shots and found holes in the back of the court behind Humana-Paredes while Borger delivered an ace behind Pavan's shoulder to make it 13-7.

WATCH | Pavan, Humana-Paredes notch semifinal win in Sardinia:

Borger continued to make Humana-Paredes move side to side and dropped shots out of the latter's reach before drilling the ball into Pavan's stomach for a 18-11 lead.

Leading 19-13, Germany ended any hopes of a Canadian comeback when Borger recorded an ace and Sude scored off a block.

Canada advanced to the final after Humana-Paredes overcame a dislocated left shoulder in Saturday's 21-15, 21-12 victory over Ross and Klineman. The right-handed Humana-Paredes returned from a medical timeout and didn't favour the shoulder for the balance of the match.

The Americans and Canadians entered the World Tour Finals 1-2 in the FIVB World Rankings.

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