Canadian women sweep reigning beach volleyball world champions in BPT Finals opener

Some much-needed rest following the back-to-back beach volleyball world championships and Pan Am Games paid off for Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes as they opened the Beach Pro Tour Finals on Wednesday.

Ranked fourth in the world, the Toronto duo defeated event champions, reigning world gold medallists and world No. 3 Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng of the United States 23-21, 21-16 at Aspire Park in Doha, Qatar.

Wilkerson and Humana-Paredes had been idle since late October after capturing Canada’s first Pan Am Games medal in women’s beach volleyball with silver in Santiago, Chile.

They face 12th-ranked Tina Graudina and Anastasija Samoilova of Latvia on Thursday at 5 a.m. ET before battling top-ranked Ana Patricia Silva Ramos and Eduarda (Duda) Santos Lisboa of Brazil at 10 a.m.

WATCH | Full match: Wilkerson, Humana-Paredes vs. Hughes/Cheng:

FIVB Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 Finals Doha: Canada vs. United States

Watch Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson take on Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng of the United States at the women’s FIVB Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 Finals from Doha, Qatar.

The Canadians complete pool play Thursday at 6 a.m. ET versus No. 10 Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Muller of Germany.

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Winners from the two pools get a bye to Saturday’s semifinals while the respective runners-up and third-place teams advance to the quarterfinals in the six-team single-elimination playoff brackets.

Medal matches will also be held on Saturday.

Wilkerson and Humana-Paredes lost the Pan Am title match to the Brazilians 22-20, 22-18 a few days after leading 470 Canadian teammates into the opening ceremony.

Earlier in October, they finished fifth at worlds in Mexico after falling in straight sets to Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar in the quarterfinals.

Wilkerson and Humana-Paredes had won five straight matches without surrendering a set but lost the battle of unbeaten tandems.

The 17 teams in each gender at the June 10, 2024 cut-off automatically qualifying for the Paris Olympics next summer.

Wilkerson and Humana-Paredes opened the Volleyball World season 10 months ago in Doha, dropping a 2-0 decision to Dutch duo Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon in their first Beach Pro Tour event as partners.

The Canadians joined forces last October in a quest for an Olympic medal in Paris. They are former indoor university volleyball teammates at York in Toronto. Both competed in Tokyo’s Summer Olympics two years ago in beach volleyball and reached the quarterfinals with different teammates.

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