Hamburg heroes made to sweat

10.07.2019 - Hamburg

The finalists from the World Champions have to dig deep in Gstaad

In case you didn’t know, this is a Major. And that means there’s quality. Everywhere.

And after a first day in which a number of favorites who enjoyed success at last week’s World Championships already fell at the first hurdle, two teams that reached the final had a scare in their first matches at the foot of the Swiss alps.

On Center Court there was a whiff of an upset. The new World Champions and last year’s Gstaad gold medalists, Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes were in trouble. Only 12 months ago, Melissa and Sarah had beaten Swiss outsiders Laura Caluori and Dunja Gerson in straight sets. A repeat right here, right now, was looking unlikely. The hosts took a shock first set lead, 21-17.

The Canadian inquest began at the intermission. They needed to call upon on their experience to avoid one of those major shocks that we love.

Winners find a way. Champions, find a way. How’s a second set riposte of 21-7?

Then everyone assumed that was that. A third set crushing. Not quite. Laura and Dunja found the steady game that brought them that first set advantage, leading at one point 6-5.

But back came those Champions. Five of the next six points were Canadian. This time it was it, and the Swiss could not recover – but there was no shame in losing 15-10 in a tie-break to opponents like this.

“That was a little kick up the butt,” a relieved Humana-Paredes said afterwards.

This was a much different setting to last week’s sensational triumph at a heady, packed, enclosed Red Bull Beach Arena in Hamburg.

“You can chalk it up a great performance by them, or chalk it up as what happened to us last week. I think we needed to go through that. Get it out of our system, get the balling rolling.”

Tough to come down after such a high?

“I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet. It’s been such a crazy time that I still don’t think it’s hit me,” the World Champs MVP continued.

“It’s tough to change your mind-set after something like that [the gold in Hamburg]. We knew this would be a challenging game, and that there will be more challenges this week, so it’s good that we’re able to pick things up the way in which we did.”

Melissa and Sarah’s victims in the final just four days ago Germany, Americans Alix Klineman and April Ross, also found the tough going.

Just like the Canadians, Alix and April lost the first set to Poland’s Kinga Wojtasik and Katharzyna Kociolek. Unlike the Canadians, the second set wasn’t as easy. At one point it was tied a 20-20. But the silver medalists from Hamburg pulled it out – and then went to smash it 15-4 in the third. Back in the game.

It means there will be no shocks – at least for now. And for the duo who were World Champs’ 1-2, they’re in the next round.