VIENNA, Austria — The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships truly lived up to its name Friday as eight different countries are represented in the men’s quarterfinals, and four in the women’s.
April Ross and Lauren Fendrick had a good day against the USA’s northern neighbors as they made it to the women’s final, while on the men’s side the lone Americans still standing are Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena as they head into the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, they fought their way into the women’s gold-medal final Friday after dropping the first set to Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 19-21, 21-16, 15-11. In their earlier quarterfinal match, Ross and Fendrick advanced over Canadians Brandie Wilkerson and Heather Bansley 21-16, 21-10.
They will play red-hot Germans Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who downed Brazilians Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes 21-19, 21-16. Earlier Friday they ousted the other American pair that remained, Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross, 21-15, 21-14. The day before Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who have lost just one set in the tournament, eliminated the USA’s Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes in the round of 16.
Ross has a chance to win her second gold medal at the World Championships, her first with Jennifer Kessy in Stavanger, Norway, in 2009. This will be Fendrick’s highest FIVB finish.
Dalhausser and Lucena needed three sets to defeat Australians Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann 21-14, 19-21, 16-14. On Saturday on the island in the Danube River will play Russians Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin, who defeeated Canadians Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter 21-14, 21-18.
Six of the eight men’s matches Friday went to three sets. Also in the quarters are Netherland’s Maarten Van Garden and Christiaan Varenhorst , Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera, Canada’s Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk, Brazil’s Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola, Poland’s Kantor and Bartosz Losiak, and Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst.
Saxton and Schalk play Goncalves and Loyola at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. Eastern), followed by Varenhorst and Van Garderen facing Gavira and Herrera.
The women’s bronze-medal match is at 1:15 p.m. when Talita and Larissa play Pavan and Humana-Paredes.
The women’s gold-medal match is at 2:30 and then men’s action resumes with Lucena and Dalhausser playing Liamin and Krasilnikov at 4, followed by Kantor and Losiak against local favorites Doppler and Horst at 5:15 p.m.
The 6-foot-5 Pavan had three blocks to begin set one against Fendrick and Ross and she closed that set with a block.
In the second set, the Americans increased serving pressure by Ross, as well as adjusting Fendrick’s set off the net.
They never trailed in set three, as Ross’ aggressive serving kept the Canadians off balance, causing Humana-Paredes into a trio of hitting errors while managing to stay clear of the Pavan block.