The new pair of seemingly ageless veteran Brittany Hochevar and youngster Kelly Claes are in the semifinals of the FIVB four-star event in Xiamen, China.
Friday saw all the other Americans get eliminated, leaving Hochevar and Claes to play Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, while in the other semi Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes take on Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Duda.
On the men’s side, the gold-medal match is all Russia as Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Nikita Liamin play Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Igor Velichko. Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt will play Poland’s Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak for bronze.
Claes and Hochevar defeated Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre (17-21, 21-18, 20-18) in the second round, and followed it up with a solid defeat of Dutch pair Joy Stubbe and Marleen Van Iersel (21-15, 21-16).
Artacho and Clancy knocked out Kerri Walsh Jennings and Nicole Branagh in the second round (19-21, 21-16, 20-18), leaving them in ninth place.
Pavan and Humana Paredes took out Sara Hughes — formerly Claes’ partner — and Summer Ross in three deuce sets (22-20, 19-21, 14-16), while Bednarczuk and Duda eliminated April Ross and Alix Klineman (18-21, 29-27, 13-15).
American men Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb — the lone USA pair remaining after Thursday — lost to Krasilnikov and Liamin in the second round (21-11, 21-17).
The remaining matches can be seen on the FIVB’s YouTube channel.