It best describes the play of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada during their 18-21, 21-19, 15-10 beach volleyball semifinal victory over Brazil’s Eduarda (Duda) Lisboa and Ana Patricia Ramos on Saturday in Jurmala, Latvia.
The reigning world champions will take a 4-1 record into Sunday’s final at 10 am ET against Barbara Seixas and Carolina Solberg Salgado of Brazil or Americans Sara Hughes and Kelley Kolinske.
Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto’s Humana-Paredes pulled out the second set after Duda and Ana Patricia pulled even at 19-19 and never looked back, taking control early in the final set at the Pro Tour Elite 16 event.
Leading 5-2, thanks to a pair of huge Pavan blocks against Duda, Humana-Paredes extended the lead when her serve graced the top of the net and fell to the sand on a breezy afternoon.
The Canadians led by as much as five points on four occasions the rest of the way, highlighted by a Humana-Paredes ace and cross-court kill to make it 11-5. They ended the match with a couple of soft tip shots.
With a light rain falling, Brazil called a timeout late in the second set after Humana-Paredes gave Canada an 18-16 advantage but Duda and Ana Patricia grabbed three of the next four points to even matters.
After signaling for a timeout, the Canadians scored the next two points to end the match as Humana-Paredes followed a soft tip with a kill deep to the corner of the court.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes looked off their game for much of Saturday’s first set with three serves into the net, a couple out of bounds and too often seemed a block or kill short of taking control while their opponents found holes to place the ball.
Trailing 14-8, Canada cut into the deficit on a Humana-Paredes kill and ace while a Pavan block made it a one-point set with Brazil up 15-14, but the Canadians couldn’t draw even.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who placed fifth at the Olympics last summer in Tokyo, went 2-1 in pool play that concluded with Friday’s 21-16, 21-13 win over Brazil’s Andressa Ramalho and Vitoria Rodrigues.
The Canadians outmatched their opponent in attack points and blocks by a 9-4 margin, while being evenly matched in service points.
Pavan and Humana-Paredes split Thursday’s matches, defeating Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Fernanda Alves in their opener and suffering a 2-0 sweep (21-19, 21-17) at the hands of top-ranked Dutch duo Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam.
Last week, Pavan and Humana-Paredes went 1-2 at an Elite 16 competition in Ostrava, Czech Republic and didn’t advance to the knockout stage.
You can stream Sunday’s match on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.