Reigning champions Pavan, Humana-Paredes ousted in quarters of beach volleyball worlds

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Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes shake hands with their Brazilian opponents after losing in the quarter-finals of the beach volleyball world championships on Friday in Rome. (Philip Whitcombe/CBC - image credit)
Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes shake hands with their Brazilian opponents after losing in the quarter-finals of the beach volleyball world championships on Friday in Rome. (Philip Whitcombe/CBC - image credit)

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes' beach volleyball world championship title defence is over.

But another Canadian duo is just two wins away from taking the trophy for themselves

The 2019 victors fell in straight sets to Brazil's Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos in the quarter-finals on Friday in Rome.

Brandie Wilkerson and Sophie Bukovec, meanwhile, cruised past 60th-ranked Italian duo Valentina Gottardi and Marta Menegatti in straight sets to book their spot in the semifinals.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes, now ranked 15th in the world, stormed through pool play without dropping a single set. They wobbled a bit in the first two knockout rounds yet managed to stay steady, recovering from first-set losses both times.

But the magic ran out.

The Canadians dropped a heart-breaking first set by a 24-22 score to their 16th-ranked Brazilian opponents before going quietly in the decisive 21-14 second set.

WATCH | Pavan, Humana-Paredes eliminated in Rome:

Despite a hefty 6-2 advantage in points off serve, Pavan, the 25-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., and Humana-Paredes, the 29-year-old from Toronto, were outscored handily 30-19 on attacks and 4-0 on blocks.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes reached Rome with momentum after winning the Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Latvia earlier this month for their first tournament victory since 2019. In between, they entered the Tokyo Olympics as a pre-tournament favourite but also exited in the quarter-finals.

Like their national teammates, Toronto's Wilkerson and Bukovec also went undefeated through pool play in Italy.

The 40th-ranked duo experienced similarly little sweat in Friday's quarter-final, dusting their opponents 21-15, 21-12. The Canadians outscored the Italians in every facet: blocks, serves, attack points and opponent errors.

WATCH | Wilkerson, Bukovec cruise into semis:

Just one day earlier, Wilkerson, 29, and the 26-year-old Bukovec— who only teamed up in March — showed off their resilience in a come-from-behind three-set victory over ninth-ranked Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude.

They'll face another German challenge in the form of third-ranked Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Müller in Saturday's semifinals.

The match can be streamed live at 2 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. The bronze- and gold-medal finals are scheduled for Sunday.

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