Top-ranked Pavan, Humana-Paredes drop beach volleyball semi in Ostrava

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Canada's Melissa Humana-Paredes, pictured, and beach volleyball partner Sarah Pavan were swept 2-0 by Switzerland's Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich in the semifinals of the Ostrava Beach Open on Saturday in the Czech Republic. They will play for a bronze medal Sunday. (Submitted by FIVB - image credit)
Canada's Melissa Humana-Paredes, pictured, and beach volleyball partner Sarah Pavan were swept 2-0 by Switzerland's Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich in the semifinals of the Ostrava Beach Open on Saturday in the Czech Republic. They will play for a bronze medal Sunday. (Submitted by FIVB - image credit)

Slow starts and inconsistent serving led to reigning beach volleyball world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes being swept by Switzerland's Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich 21-19, 21-18 in semifinal play at the Ostrava Beach Open on Saturday.

Ranked ninth in the world, Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich were in control for much of the match in the Czech Republic, surrendering the lead for only a brief period in each set for their first win in five attempts against the Canadian duo.

They will play for a gold medal at the 4-star event on Sunday against the winner of the other semifinal between Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes of the United States and Brazil's Barbara Seixas de Freitas and Carolina Solbert Salgado. The loser faces world No. 1 Pavan and Humana-Paredes in the bronze match.

Earlier Saturday, the Canadians defeated Netherlands duo Katja Stam and Raïsa Schoon in a thrilling three-set quarter-final (21-16, 20-22, 15-13).

But it was Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich, coming off a 2-0 default victory over world No. 2 April Ross and Alix Klinemen to reach the quarter-finals, who did a better job of building on momentum in the semis.

The Swiss tandem built a 3-0 advantage in the opening set against Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who battled back to tie the game twice at 7-7 and 9-9 before taking the lead 10-9 on a Pavan kill.

WATCH | Canada vs. Switzerland semifinal match:

The turning point came with Switzerland up 17-16 when Vergé-Dépré made a huge block after a long rally, forcing the Canadians to take a timeout. Vergé-Dépré came right back and scored a point off a Pavan kill for a 19-16 advantage

Pavan and Humana-Paredes closed to within 19-18 but a cross-court shot by the latter went wide and Vergé-Dépré ended the game when her hit went off Pavan's right hand on a block attempt.

In the second set, Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich held leads of 5-2 and 9-5. Canada climbed back to within 9-8 to force a Swiss timeout and evened matters at 11-11, only to have Humana-Paredes serve into the net.

WATCH | Canada vs. Netherlands quarter-final match:

Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich extended their lead to 14-11 and 17-13 before Pavan's ace down the middle made it a two-point game. But she immediately served into the net, giving momentum back to the Swiss.

After a net touch by Pavan and save of match point cut the lead to 20-17, Pavan delivered an ace and then the victory to Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich with a serve into the net.

The Canadians advanced to the playoff rounds after scoring straight-set victories on Friday against Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakimi of Japan (21-14, 21-13) and Brazil's Taiana Lima and Talita Da Rocha Antunes (21-13, 21-14.)

A three-setter to begin Saturday's action was the second time the Canadians were taken the distance by Stam and Schoon in Ostrava after Canada prevailed 2-1 (21-17,19-21,15-12) on Thursday.