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Canada keeps rolling in Olympic women’s beach volleyball with 2 teams in quarters

Humana-Paredes and Pavan, the reigning world champions, have won all four of their pool matches 2-0
Melissa Humana-Paredes, of Canada digs out the ball during a women’s beach volleyball match against Spain at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Four up, four down for Canada’s top-ranked beach volleyball duo – and they’ve done it without dropping a single set.

Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., remain perfect at the Tokyo Olympics after winning their round-of-16 match on Monday.

The Canadian duo dispatched Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan 2-0, overpowering their opponents 21-13, 21-13.

Humana-Paredes and Pavan, the reigning world champions, have won all four of their pool matches 2-0.

Canada is the only country with two teams left in the tournament.

Humana-Paredes and Pavan will face Australia’s Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

That match will be held right after Heather Bansley of Waterdown, Ont., and Toronto’s Brandie Wilkerson play Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in their quarterfinal matchup.

“Normally at this stage there would be two Americans or two Brazilians but you’re seeing two Canadians now and I think that says a lot about our program and our federation,” said Humana-Paredes. “I think as a country we should be really proud of where we are.”

Humana-Paredes and Pavan have been dominant since they first partnered together five years ago. They’ve reached the finals at 14 international events and won seven, including the 2019 world title and a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold.

In track and field, two sisters from Toronto are through to the semifinals of the 1,500 metres.

Gabriela Debues-Stafford won her heat in four minutes 3.70 seconds ahead of Britain’s Laura Muir to qualify for Wednesday’s first semifinal. Her younger sister Lucia Stafford finished seventh with a personal-best time of 4:03.52 and advanced to the second semifinal.

“I have my eyes on something big in the finals, so I’m happy to get the first round done,” said Debues-Stafford. “I felt really good doing it.”

Natalia Hawthorn of North Vancouver, B.C., came in 10th in her heat and was eliminated.

Toronto’s Crystal Emmanuel had a bounce-back performance, one day after failing to advance to the women’s 100 final. The 29-year-old qualified for the 200 final with a first-place finish in her heat in a season-best time of 22.74 seconds.

There were some mixed results for Canada in canoe sprint.

Andreanne Langlois of Lac Beauport, Que., and Michelle Russell of Fall River, N.S., qualified for the 200-metre kayak single semifinals. Langlois won her quarterfinal in 41.728 seconds. Russell narrowly advanced, beating out Britain’s Emily Lewis by five thousandths of a second.

“I’m glad to be on the right side of the photo finish,” said Russell. “I had no idea where I was for the whole race. When we crossed the line, Emily Lewis right next to me, we’re looking at each other and didn’t know what was going on.”

The men’s team of Roland Varga and Connor Fitzpatrick advanced to the 1,000-metre canoe double semifinal.

But Simon McTavish of Oakville, Ont., was eliminated from the 1,000 kayak singles. The team of Alanna Bray-Lougheed and Madeline Schmidt failed to progress in the 500-metre kayak double.

In wrestling, Danielle Lappage of Olds, Alta., lost her opening women’s 68-kilogram match 7-0 to Russian wrestler Khanum Velieva and failed to advance to the quarterfinal.

“I was really confident, I had a good feeling and I just thought it would have ended differently,” said Lappage.

The Canadian Press

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