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2018-08-17 12:09:00 CET

A step in the right direction

Sarah & Melissa back in the game

Victory for Melissa (left) and Sarah has given them a chance of reaching the quatertfinalsVictory for Melissa (left) and Sarah has given them a chance of reaching the quatertfinals

After experiencing two disappointing defeats, Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan were staring down the barrel at a swift Hamburg Finals exit.

But the Canadian duo, who won the Gstaad Major last month, believe they play their best when they’re backs are against the wall – and so it proved as they continued their unbeaten record against Barbora Hermannová and Marketa Sluková to keep their Finals dream alive.

“I think we’re playing with more fire and more passion,” Sarah said after their straight sets win which made it 5-0 in their head-to-head meetings with the Czechs. “We knew we had to win both games today to stand a chance, but true competitors find a way to win when you’re up against it and that’s the story of today.

“Satisfaction isn’t the word, nor is relief. It’s a confidence booster because we were scratching our heads, thinking ‘what the heck is happening? This isn’t us, this isn’t me.’ There has been a lot of self-reflection. I didn’t want to end this tournament playing garbage like I have been.”

They were thoughts echoed by her teammate. “We thrive when we have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” added Melissa. “When we feel the pressure we go out and play free and the kind of the volleyball we can and have always been able to play. I’m very proud of our team to get that win after the past couple of days.”

The Commonwealth Games champions now face home favorites Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider on the Red Bull Beach Arena sand at 6.30pm CEST knowing they will need to win to stand a chance of advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

“We need to win the next match,” said Sarah, matter of fact. “It’s going to be an exciting atmosphere and nobody will be cheering for us.

“But that’s what we love, we’ve been there before – but we know that we need to perform tonight.

“This win is a step in the right direction and I hope we can build on that tonight.”

You can watch Sarah and Melissa’s must-win match live on BeachStream.

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